Author, Fatima BurkiFatima Burki is a graduate of the University of Sussex in the UK. A former editor at The Daily Times in Lahore and research editor at Imagination Publishing in Chicago, with 20 years of experience in writing and editing, Fatima currently works with students as an editor at Eye on Ivy.
Now that you’ve made it to college, it is time to start thinking ahead to entering the workforce and establishing a career. And you don’t have to wait till your college graduation to get started. According to career counseling services, one of the most effective ways to get a jumpstart on your career is through college internships. Most employers also look for prior internship experience when hiring.
Usually, students start looking for internships in their junior or senior year but there is no reason not to start as early as the freshman year. There are multiple reasons why starting internships in your freshman year is a good idea for your career development. It can help you rack up relevant experience, build more connections and help you decide on a career path early in college and select a major and courses accordingly.
One of the best ways to get good internship recommendations is by building a relationship with the college career counselor. Almost all colleges have one and they are well connected with local companies.
Other ways to find out about internships include job sites, college career site, college career fairs, seminars and workshops.
College internships not only help you beef up your resume but also help build critical connections with people who can later on help you in your career. Make use of your internship to get to know your co-workers. These are people who have critical experience and insight into your career field. They can help guide you and even help you get a job down the road.
Be active and participate in all company events. Most companies arrange post-work events, especially for networking purposes. It is worthwhile to take part in these and get to meet people you may not normally interact with in your daily work but who can help you in your career later on.
And let’s not forget about the all-important alumni network. Ask around and find out if there’s an alumnus from your college working at the company you’re interning with. If there is one, connect with them. Most will be willing to look out for you based on your shared interest in the same college. That’s not the only way to connect with an alumnus though. Your college may also have mentorship programs where you can be paired with an alumnus. Look into it and find one you can be paired with based on similar career interests.
Internships can help you discover yourself. Through them, you can find out your strengths weaknesses and interests in a particular career path. Starting early will give you ample time to decide on a suitable career and help plan your college accordingly.
Internships can also build your interpersonal skills which will help you in the workplace. They are also useful in making lifelong connections.
8 weeks, 1 company, the internship of a lifetime.
AcademicQuests offers a competitive internship program, Ladder Internships (by Lumiere Education). This program connects talented college as well as high school students with ambitious start-ups from around the world. Ladder Internships was founded by entrepreneurs from Harvard and focuses on nurturing students by providing top-notch training and pairing them with world-class start-ups. The program offers students a unique learning experience with founders from prestigious backgrounds like Harvard Business School, Y-Combinator, McKinsey, Google, and Microsoft. More information about them can be found here.