The Internship Advantage
Think of an internship as a "test drive."
Whether at the state Broadcasters Association, the American
Civil Liberties Union, AT&T or a university medical center,
organizations offer opportunities for students of all ages
to test drive and gain experience in their desired career
fields through internships.
These on-the-job learning experiences enhance students' chances
for early career success. They are especially valuable when
they are intentionally chosen because they align with careers
that students have identified as good matches for them. Internships
offer a realistic work preview and provide practical, supervised
learning experience. How the opportunities are structured
varies by industry and organization. More general internships
may offer rotations through different departments and company
functions; others, a more focused project or assignment. In
fact, today it is common for students to have had several
Each internship enables students the opportunity to:
Build a network of contacts within a career field or
Provide insights and feedback on what it takes to be
successful in the field
Offer a realistic preview and a means to compare top
Achieve a competitive advantage in the interviewing
Try out a new city
The current range of internship possibilities is exciting.
Historically open to undergraduate and graduate students,
more employers today are making internship opportunities available
to high school students. Did you know that today's smart employers
are offering internships to identify and recruit high performers
for employment after graduation?
What do I need to know?
1. Students interested in internships should begin the
2. Ask your school (guidance counselor, academic dean,
or career services) if they offer assistance in securing
internships and take full advantage of their resources.
3. Create a great resume and practice your interviewing
skills—that includes getting the company background
on the internships you are applying for. Treat this search
just as if you were looking for a job.
4. Interested in one or two specific companies? Check out
their website for information on internships and don't be
afraid to go directly to Human Resources or a department
manager to propose one.
5. Discover if anyone you know—family, friends or
even alumni—works at the company. Speak with them
to learn more or gain an introduction.
Will I be paid?
Some of the most competitive interns are paid. It may be a
stipend or an hourly rate. Many others are unpaid, but add
value to your resume or provide academic credit.
How much time am I committing?
Internships can last from four weeks to one year. It often
depends on the age and educational level of the student and
how the internship is established. For example, an internship
for a Ph.D. in clinical psychology can be an entire year and
is required; whereas an internship for an undergraduate marketing
student may be part of a semester-long course or a six-week
Do I work at the company?
Most internships are located on-site at an employer or organization
in order to provide a chance to experience the particular
work environment first-hand and interact frequently with other
employees and managers.
"On-site" though, may mean on-site in Boston or
San Francisco, Japan or Spain. The International Center at
the University of Michigan offers some guidelines and information
In some cases, students have gotten their start with virtual
internships.The students do online work and communicate
with supervisors and team members through conference calls
The value of internships is priceless and they are quickly
becoming an expectation for top students. With internships,
Check out these other resources!
Yahoo HotJobs for College Students: http://hotjobs.yahoo.com/jobs-College
CareerBuilder for College Students: www.careerbuildercollege.com
List of employers, organizations and websites that offer
internships, compiled by Miami University Career Services:
© Copyright 2007, Career Vision / Ball Foundation. Article
may be reprinted with permission.