Internships 101

Student, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Mar   2016



As summer gets closer, so does the looming question of “What are you doing this summer?” Because college breaks are so much longer than high school breaks, the opportunities are endless for students. One of the more popular options is to get an internship. Internships are a great way to get a head start in your field of study. You can meet other people who are doing the same things you are interested in and network with professionals. So, what internship is the perfect fit for you? And once you decide, where do you start?

Related: 7 Tips for Finding an Internship

There are many internship-search websites where you can look for jobs based on category or company. Your own college probably has a way to search for internships, like through their career center. Starting your search through your college might be easier as well since already have a lot of information on you, like your résumé.

Related: What Are Internships Really Like?

An integral part of internship searching is to determine where you want to get an internship. You should aim for acquiring one in an area where you might want to work one day. Many internships turn into job offers along the way, so working somewhere you can see a future for yourself is ideal. Deciding whether you want to stick close to home or venture somewhere farther is key when looking for internships.

Related: Summer Internships

Next, find out what kind of company you would like to intern for. Interning at a start-up company is very different compared to interning at an established company. Working for a smaller, newer company will no doubt give you a more personalized education in the field of your choice. However, interning at a bigger company will give you the perspective of a business that has already made a name for itself and is therefore more experienced.

Related: Internships: Your Dream Job Diving Board

A huge part of the internship search is a good résumé and cover letter. Make sure you get someone else to read over your résumé and proofread your cover letter. That is the first impression you are going to make to companies, and you should make sure it is a good one. List all your accomplishments, but try not to stretch some of them into being bigger than they are. Companies can usually see right through that. Personalize each cover letter for each internship application so companies know that you care.

Related: Internship Do's and Don'ts

Finally, do not be disappointed if your internship experience is not everything you dreamed of. Some people nail their careers the first time they try, but other people need to explore their options before finalizing what they want to do in life. Take your internship as a learning experience and find something that suits you better. If your internship turns into your dream job, then even better! Good luck, and happy searching!

Related: Top 10 Tips for Your First Job

So, we have to ask . . . what are you doing this summer? Tell us in the comments!

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About Tia Nanjappan

Tia Nanjappan is a journalism major currently attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Tar Heels!). She likes to be in the know about the world and thus is planning on pursuing a career in news reporting. When she is not reading up on current events, Tia can be found drinking coffee, trying to learn a new language, or shopping online.