One of the best ways to prepare for a job while you are still in college is to get an internship. Internships are helpful for several reasons: they provide you valuable experience, they can give you great connections, and they also help you gain credit towards your degree. If you feel like you love to take advantage of these great opportunities, then you should visit your college’s career center or talk to a professor in your department for help tracking down an internship.
The first way an internship can help you in your job search is a fairly obvious one: it gives you great professional experience. There’s nothing that can be more helpful than actually getting your feet wet and testing out the waters of whatever career field you’re most interested in joining once you graduate. An internship can show you the ropes of how an office works, or what is required of the job your interested in. Yet it also gives you some respite from a complete forty hour workweek. It’s enough to give you a taste, but not too much to where it could negatively affect your studies.
In addition to giving you valuable professional experience, a college internship can also put you in contact with experts who are very familiar with the career you are interested in. This means that you get to work with people who can teach you what you need to know, and also, maybe even more importantly, you have a built in set of references who can be useful when you begin to apply for jobs. This means, of course, that you should do your very best when you are at the internship, so your supervisor can give you a good reference.
Finally, a college internship can help you get credit towards your degree. College internships usually are not paid internships, so you won’t have any spending money if you get one; however, they do often ‘pay’ interns in the form of academic credits. Usually you sign up for an internship through your university, which means internships are often listed as classes for upper class students. Talk to your professors or the career services office for advice about choosing an internship in such a way that it will help you take care of some required course credits. That way you can get some immediate return on your internship investment.
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