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What is an Internship?

Are you considering applying for a job as an intern?

If you are at college, taking on an internship during the summer months is a popular option. It gives you the chance to learn new skills and gain work experience that can be useful once you graduate. However, if you have been working hard at college, you might be eager to take a break. The last thing you might want to do is spend the summer cooped up in an office or a factory.

So, let’s take an in-depth look at ‘What is an Internship?’ and if you should apply for one?

what is an internship

An Internship Explained

There are a large number of companies that offer internships to college students. Most internships run for between ten and twelve weeks during the summer months. Some companies also offer shorter spring and fall internships that can be completed in the semester breaks.

Internships are open to entry-level employees who want to gain work experience. Most internships come with a base hourly salary, and interns work around forty hours a week. They usually work alongside qualified and experienced professionals and take on special projects.

What Do Interns Do?

The tasks interns are charged with will depend on where they work. If you work in an office, you are likely to be assigned menial tasks like photocopying at first. Once you have proved your work ethic, you are likely to be given more complicated and important tasks.

Some internships are designed to train interns to work at the company when they graduate. These interns are likely to work closely with a junior manager or other professional. After a few weeks, they may be assigned special projects that will allow them to show off their skills.

what is the internship

The Benefits Of An Internship

Make no mistake; an internship can be hard work. It may be tempting to spend your vacation time on the beach rather than in an office. Here are some of the ways an internship can help set you up for life.

Developing important work skills

One of the key benefits of taking on an internship is the chance to learn new skills. These skills will look great on your resume and will help you get a foot in the door later in life. Rather than having to start at the bottom, you will already have some of the skills you need to do a job well.

Standing out from the crowd

Recruiters look for people who are self-motivated and ambitious. Completing an internship or two shows that you are motivated to work and gain new skills. It also shows that you know how to work with other people and have a healthy work ethic.

Getting higher grades

Studies have shown that students who take on internships perform better in the classroom. Once you have a vision of what you want to do after you graduate, you are more likely to be motivated. You will also have practical skills and experience that you can refer to when you take your exams.

Networking

You will meet a large number of talented professionals during your internships. This is the perfect opportunity to make important connections. Make sure you connect with these professionals and call on them when you need a reference or some career advice.

Securing future employment

Many companies offer interns who excel full-time work when they graduate. Having a job lined up while you are still studying will give you peace of mind. Even if you want to look around for a better opportunity, you will know that you have something to fall back on.

what is an internship guide

Try before you buy

Working as an intern is a great way to try out different careers. This is useful if you are not quite sure what you want to do when you graduate. You can take on several different internships while you’re at college to see which industry you want to work in.

Some careers may look great on paper but could be rather dull in reality. You may find that your dream job comes with a lot more stress than you can handle. Alternatively, an internship you were not particularly looking forward to could turn out to be a lot of fun.

Trying something unexpected

If you are not sure what you want to do when you graduate, it is a good idea to think outside the box. Apply for internships that interest you, even if you don’t plan to work in that industry. You may find something that excites you and decide to embark on an unusual career path.

Easing into work

The transition from being a student to working full time can be very hard. Even if you work hard as a student, you are likely to have a lot of freedom to create your own schedule. Aside from attending one or two lectures a day, you are free to work or play when you want.

Suddenly having to get up early every day and work for eight hours at a stretch can be a shock. Having completed a few internships will help to make it much easier to do this. You are likely to have developed a work routine during the internship that you can fall back into.

Earning while you learn

While it is not always the case, many internships pay fairly well. If you have specialist skills, you are likely to find that your earning potential is high. This is a better option than taking on a minimum wage job during the summer holidays.

Ways To Find An Internship

Finding an internship that interests you and pays well can be tough. Trying to work out where the opportunities are and how to get them takes a bit of planning. Here are some key ways to find the perfect internship for your skills and interests.

Use Your Campus Resources

Most colleges hold career fairs throughout the year. These are good opportunities to connect with recruiters and find out about different internships. If you already know what you are looking for, you may be able to sign up on the spot.

Go Online

Simply searching online for internships can yield a lot of results. Take the time to read the details of different internships and see what works best for you. If you are interested in working in a particular industry, try modifying the search to get better results.

Check Out Your Favorite Organizations

Many organizations offer special internships to promising college students. However, they may not always advertise these internships publically. It is a good idea to reach out to your favorite organizations and ask about their internships.

Tips For Securing An Internship

By now, you have probably decided that you want to get an internship. However, with tens of thousands of college students in the USA, competition for the top places can be quite high. Here are some ways to increase your chances of success.

Start the Search Early

Don’t wait until the last minute to secure an internship. Many recruiters fill their intern slots months in advance. The earlier you apply, the higher your chances of success will be.

what is the internship guide

Work on Your Resume and Cover Letter

Make sure your resume is up to date and reflects your key skills. In some cases, you may need to reach out to recruitment officers to secure an internship. Make sure you create a brief yet engaging cover letter.

Work on Your Interview Technique

Many recruiters want to meet potential interns in person before they assign positions. It is important to know how to make a good first impression and present your skills. Many colleges offer interview classes that you can take to hone your skills.

Work Your Network

Your professors are likely to have information on organizations that offer internships. They may even be able to put in a good word for you to help you secure a spot. It is also worth visiting your campus career center to see if they can point you in the right direction.

Let’s Help You Land That Internship!

Firstly, we found a few interesting guides for making the most of your time as an intern with How to Intern Successfully: Insights & Actions to Optimize Your Experience, or The Intern Files: How to Get, Keep, and Make the Most of Your Internship, as well as the How To Sharpen Your Interview Skills: Be a Rock-Star at Interviews ! A must have book for an Intern to a CEO all available online in 2022.

For additional interview advice, we also have the Amazing Interview Answers: 44 Tough Job Interview Questions with 88 Winning Answers, Hiring Squirrels: 12 Essential Interview Questions and The STAR Method Explained: Proven Technique to Succeed at Interview.

Of course, you can never be too prepared, so check out the INTERVIEW with DESIRE and GET HIRED!, or perhaps the How to Answer Interview Questions and lastly, Get That Job!: The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview, also available online today.

Final Thoughts

Completing an internship is the perfect way to gain work experience and skills while you are studying. Internships look great on your resume and can make up for limited work experience. If you excel at your internship, you may find that it leads to full-time work once you have your degree.

However, there can be a lot of competition for popular and high-paying internships. To land one, you need to apply early and show that you have the required skills. You may also have to work your connections and be persistent to gain a coveted intern role.

All the very best in finding the best Internship for you!

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About Carmen Smith

Carmen grew up in San Diago but now lives in Boston. She loves traveling, experiencing other cultures, and basically exploring the world, be country at a time.

Her other passion is helping people find the perfect career. We spend 33% of our working lives at work, so it's ridiculous that many people do jobs that they do not enjoy. Carmen wants to change this and thinks that anyone who isn't happy in their employment should keep looking until they find something that they really enjoy. 

She firmly believes that "Everyone's perfect job is out there; it's just a case of continually looking until you find it."

Carmen lives with her husband Johnny, a keen birder who also loves to travel. He finds birds while Carmen makes plans for where they will be eating next...

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