Last Updated: Apr 15, 2017
Once May and June arrive, college students know that summer vacation is just around the corner. For many people this means sleeping in, staying out late, planning trips, and spending time with loved ones. But this is also a great opportunity for students to take advantage of summer jobs and internships to advance their education and career plans. Summer vacation has plenty of days to spend some lazy afternoons, but we can always spare a few to explore different career options.
Internships allow students to gain hands-on experience within specific fields and careers. Students are able to learn the ins and outs of a job, as well as people from the company to create a network. When you demonstrate your work ethic, interest, and dedication, you can create a foundation with the people in the corporation. Once you establish professional relationships with the people, you will have recommendations and a history with that company that could be advantageous in the future.
Through your internship you’ll gain industry knowledge that cannot be found in textbooks. Students learn directly from people working in your desired field and receive advice for future job opportunities. People from the company have the knowledge, experience, and skills that will assist you in finding a job. When you work on a project for the company, you’ll have the chance to improve and test your skills. Once you are placed in a real-world situation away from the books, you are faced with a win-win: you either prove your skills or learn to improve them. (And you may think you know it all, but I guarantee there is something you can improve upon.)
In addition, your résumé is going to shine! When employers see the experience and the initiative you took to improve your education and skills, they will see someone willing and determined to work for their career.
Finding internships can be simple but tedious. There are many employers willing to train and receive assistance from students ready to learn and help. When I transferred to California State University, Northridge, I was determined to gain experience in my field. A resource that assisted me in searching for an internship was my school’s Career Center. This is a great resource for both students and employers who offer internships and learning programs. Employers use this resource to test out potential candidates for employment. At the Career Center, there will be staff ready to help you explore different options and possibilities for internships that relate to your desired field.
In addition, online sources can also help you with your search. One website that greatly benefited me was Indeed.com. Just search the job title of the type of employment you are looking for and the desired location. My first internship was with PRAVANA, a leading line of hair color and hair care products for salon professionals. I worked with the marketing and business development manager and learned the process of writing and developing techniques to market products. In addition, I now have a professional relationship with several people in the company to assist me with my future job search.
Future employers want to see experience and the ability to take the time to improve our skills. I used the same website to find my second internship with Best Bride, a wedding planning agency. I work with the blog manager to post exciting and helpful posts for couples regarding their wedding arrangements and plans. While gaining new writing skills and professional references, my writing is being seen by hundreds of people, and having my work published helps gain exposure for future job opportunities.
Internships provide students with the opportunity to explore different careers and apply techniques learned in class to the professional world. Students also establish connections for possible job opportunities and improve their résumés. So take advantage of a long summer vacation and use this time to improve your skills, because when an employer sees you have experience, they see an individual who is willing and ready to work for their future.