Many young people, both in and out of college, are pursuing internship opportunities in lieu of more traditional jobs. Internships offer a few things—the opportunity to work for a prestigious business in your field of interest, a tiny bit of pay, a nice, targeted addition to your resume, and a low-risk situation in which to flex your business muscles. Because of these things, internships may be the ideal first adult job situation.
The idea isn’t a new one—apprenticeships for more vocational jobs have been around as long as people have been working—but it is growing in popularity and (thankfully) pay. Internships exist in two forms. First, there are work experience internships that offer the chance to perform traditional work in your field of interest. Second, there are research or graduate internships in which the intern performs specific research or research projects in their field of study. Both types are offered for pay and academic credit, occasionally both.
The key to finding a good internship begins in research, a component that Jason Hartman often speaks highly of. Identifying potential companies you may want to work for and selecting specific reasons for your interest will help you as you begin the application process.
The next step is often just asking. While many companies do not advertise internship opportunities, they might be willing to work with you to set something up, especially if you’ve done your research. Be prepared to present a proposal for the project to them, and update your cover letter and resume to reflect your most recent experience and present your best self.
Once you’ve secured your internship, go into it with an open mind. Be ready to learn from those in the industry with more experience than yourself. Even if you don’t agree with their strategies initially, you may find that their knowledge improves your own (even if it is negative influence—A doesn’t work, so maybe I’ll try B). Take notes, and keep a record of projects you complete so that you can show a portfolio as you look for more permanent employment.
As your internship wraps up, don’t forget to get a letter of recommendation for the future. Services like Interfolio allow recommenders to complete letters which are kept online for future use, ensuring their safety and location. While they cost money, it isn’t much, and it is usually worth it.
Jason Hartman suggests you make the most out of any employment opportunity you may have, internship or otherwise. Remember that the best investors are those that are well-rounded and lifelong learners! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/usaghumphreys/6503200539/)