The correlation between participating in a college internship and gaining post-graduate employment is staggering. According to research published by Zippia, students with internship experience are 35 percent more likely to receive a job offer following graduation than those without.
This is nothing to bat an eye at. Evidence like this makes it hard to deny the impact internships can have on your professional life. That’s why, every year, hundreds of thousands of college students complete an internship.
If you don’t already know why an internship could be valuable for you, here are five ways a good internship can positively impact your career.
Taking initiative will serve you well in all aspects of your life. Professionally, this tendency will open many doors.
As a college student, your first opportunity to exercise this muscle is now as you decide whether or not to pursue a relevant internship. If you’re hungry to complement your education, push your comfort zone and make valuable professional connections, interning during college could be a great decision.
Here at Anderson Trucking Service (ATS), we offer summer internships within our logistics division every year. Throughout June, July and August, ATS Logistics’ interns learn valuable professional skills like interpersonal communication, data analytics and problem-solving.
At its conclusion, this internship program leaves college students well-rounded and prepared for the professional world — this is what a great internship is supposed to do and can do for you.
So, if you’d like to get an internship in the near future, it’s important that you approach this process with gusto. In all likelihood, you’ll face stiff competition during your search as other students pursue the same role.
This article will provide four tips to help you find a great internship as well as three keys to securing your place in any program.
4 Tips for Finding a Great Internship
As you’re likely aware, searching for a job isn’t always fun. After a while, seeking the right fit can be deflating and frustrating when things aren’t going your way. And, although getting an internship during college has slightly lower stakes, it doesn’t make this process any less stressful.
You deserve to find an internship that will test your knowledge and guide you toward growth. Since this is probably your first time exploring the professional job market, here are some tips for finding a college internship:
- Attend networking events
- Network with people within your sphere of influence
- Be proactive in your search
- Consult your college’s career resource center
1. Attend Networking Events
Networking is a powerful tool regardless of your station in life. As your career progresses, networking with people in your field will get easier. That said, it’s perhaps most important in the beginning.
That’s why, as you search for a college internship, attending a networking event or two is a great idea. Examples of the events you could attend include:
- Industry-specific seminars
- Virtual meet-ups hosted by local groups
- On- and off-campus career fairs
- Conferences and tradeshows held in your area
- Breakfasts, brunches and luncheons
- In-person/virtual career events hosted by area employers.
Get out of your comfort zone, grab a friend and attend a few networking events in your area. This is a great way to get face time with local business leaders and establish connections that may lead to internship opportunities.
2. Network With People Within Your Sphere of Influence
A second great way to find an internship is to reach out to people you’re already connected with. This could be a friend, acquaintance or family member working in the field you’re interested in.
It’s safe to assume they’ve been in your position before. As such, you might not have to make a new connection to find an internship. In most cases, the people you already know will be more than happy to help.
Usually, as you’ll find, even if those you reach out to don’t have a current opening in their organization/realm, one of their connections might. Ask them to pass your information along and “keep their ear to the ground” for you.
LinkedIn is another great tool to use here.
As a platform designed to bring business professionals together to share ideas and opportunities, LinkedIn is an excellent way to find an internship. Use its job search tools, message business leaders and post an update to your connections outlining your areas of interest and the start date you’re aiming for.
Related Article: How to Find a Job on LinkedIn (3 Easy Steps)
3. Be Proactive in Your Search
You won’t find a college internship without putting in the effort. Most internships are competitive, drawing interest from a wide pool of college students. Those without this pull probably aren’t worth your time anyway.
Since you have a limited window of time to find and complete an internship within, being proactive in your search is really important. Your competition is just as hungry for growth as you are. As a result, you may get left behind if you don’t make finding an internship a priority.
Sure, this point seems pretty obvious — of course, you won’t get an internship without trying. That said, being proactive in your hunt means more than simply filling out a few job applications. In fact, you’ll need to put in some work to lock down a role you really want.
Among other things, be prepared to:
- Go out of your way to make connections
- Spend a considerable amount of time searching for internships
- Reach out to potential employers — even if they don’t have an internship posted
Though it can be challenging at first, getting into a habit of taking the initiative will get you a long way, not just when hunting for an internship.
4. Consult Your College’s Career Resource Center
Every college has some kind of career resource center. Whether it’s a fully-staffed department or a single individual, this is an excellent place to find an internship.
As a staple of its community, your college has an expansive network of local, regional and national connections. Most universities use these bonds to establish ongoing internship opportunities for their undergraduate students.
As such, visit your college’s career center and explore what it has to offer.
3 Tips for Getting the Internship You Apply For
Once you do the hard work of finding an internship to apply for, it’s time to get your foot in the door. This, like hunting down a great opportunity, is easier said than done. If you’re interested in what an internship can offer, you’re probably not alone. So, be prepared to face some competition.
Luckily, it’s not impossible to stand out from the crowd as an internship candidate.
Here are three tips for doing just that:
- Customize your resume and supporting document(s) to the opportunity at hand
- Display professionalism at all times
- Do your research at each company
1. Customize Your Resume and Supporting Document(s) to the Opportunity at Hand
The people who make hiring decisions for the internships you’ll be applying for look over a lot of resumes, read a ton of cover letters and see a bunch of faces during this process.
That’s why you should do everything in your power to stand out. Standing out starts with the resume, cover letter and supporting documents you submit. Customize these items to reflect the value you’d bring to each organization specifically.
For example, someone applying for a marketing internship at a dog food company might want to reference their experience working with animals and the skills they’ve learned in doing so. This individual may want to cite specific areas where their college experience and interests align with the duties/responsibilities associated with this internship.
What unique value can you provide this organization? If there was one problem you think you’d be best at solving as their intern, what is it?
This information, together with a catalog of relevant experience and skills, will help set your resume and cover letter apart.
Using templated documents won’t win you any points or turn any heads. Take time to customize each submission you make.
2. Display Professionalism at All Times
Young adults, like you, kind of have the deck stacked against them in a way. Since most first-time interns don’t have a ton of experience, it can be hard for these candidates to stand out from the field during the hiring process.
Displaying professionalism in every interaction you have with an employer will gain you points in their eyes. You see, companies want to hire interns who will be a good fit within their organization. Often, this comes down to the way candidates present themselves throughout the interview stage; these are the only interactions they can use to develop an opinion about you.
So, to set yourself apart and prevent losing out on an internship because you came off as unprofessional, here are some things to prioritize:
- Dress for success
- Treat others with respect
- Always respond to emails and phone calls in a timely manner
- Make eye contact and smile during face-to-face interactions
The way you display yourself should also spill over to your social media presence — be sure to communicate professionally on these platforms as well (companies usually check them out).
3. Do Your Research on Each Company
A third thing you’ll want to do before you ever apply for an internship — and before each interview (phone, one-way video, in-person) — is research each company. Check out their social media pages and website to discover what’s important to them.
What are their values? What is their mission? What kind of culture do they take pride in maintaining? This is all valuable information to understand. Keeping these things in mind, you can cater your interactions (and interview answers) to hit these value points.
You want to present yourself in a way that communicates the value you’d bring to the organization’s larger mission. Doing your research is the first step toward doing so.
Here are 13 Tips For Crushing Your Interview
This is an exciting time to be you. There are boundless opportunities ahead. As your career kicks off, you’ll be faced with challenges, triumphs, adventures and failures in the years ahead.
These experiences will shape you as an individual and as a professional. Many of them will happen during your internship — let’s make sure you get one.
Now you understand how to find internship opportunities and a few of the things to prioritize when applying for them. That said, crushing your interview takes a tried-and-true plan of attack.
Here at ATS, our team has put together a comprehensive guide to acing an interview for you to download. And, as long as you follow the 13 tips outlined in this Interview Etiquette Guide, you’ll have no trouble securing the internship of your dreams — download it today.
Finally, ATS hires college interns for the summer every year in our logistics division, ATS Logistics. Interviews for these internship slots last from February to April. So, if you’re interested in applying for one of those and learning what a job in the transportation world has to offer, contact us.