Being a college student is a fun and rewarding experience. You’ll meet people who you’ll be friends with for the rest of your life. You’ll experience memories and adventures that will profoundly engrave themselves on your personality for years to come. But don’t forget why you came to college or university; it’s never too soon to start thinking about the ‘big picture’ when it comes to your professional career.
Internships are a great way to develop your resume and have fun at the same time. The added responsibility will help you organize your work and school life, while building on your professional development. They allow you to connect with people who are already working in your industry of interest, and can also provide you with invaluable references for the future. It’s a great opportunity to test the water with an inside glimpse into the field, and it can help you decide if it’s something you want to pursue later.
So why is being a student a good time to work for free?
Internships can be paid or unpaid. But don’t get down if you land an unpaid position! Being a student allows you to experience many different industries that can really help you find your niche. It may not feel like it, but you have less responsibility when you’re a student than when you’re part of the workforce. Take this opportunity now while you have the chance – your future self will thank you!
Sounds good! So how do I get an internship?
As a student, make sure you use your college or university’s resources. Visit your school’s career centre and ask about internship opportunities – you’ll be amazed at what’s out there! You can also approach companies directly. Knocking on a few doors and being proactive not only looks great on you, but might open up opportunities that are not necessarily advertised. You can also take a look at advanced searches on established search engines like Workopolis.com for internship-specific positions.
If you are new to post-secondary education – or a senior high school student looking for opportunities before heading off to college – take your time. Don’t take on too much at once. Being a student is ultimately a balance of work, school and social life. As you juggle these three balls, you will inevitably drop one. Don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it. Remember to balance your workload: prioritize what is most important and go from there.
Picking the right internship for you is important in maintaining a good work-school balance. Commit to something that is achievable and beneficial to your social and professional development. Do you get nervous about public speaking? Volunteer as a “frosh boss.” Try and fill the holes in your resume while you have the chance, and learn to build and develop on a social, academic and professional level.
Internships are an opportunity to gain experience and knowledge in a field you may not yet be qualified to work in. They are a great way to beat the age old conundrum: need experience to get a job – need a job to get experience! Before you start hunting for those internships, make sure you’re prepared by checking out these tips to enhance your resume.