The end of the school year can be a stressful time for students as they focus on finals and end of year projects and events. Balancing these responsibilities with additional obligations such as sports or clubs can be overwhelming. While at this time it may seem like an onerous task to add the pursuit of an internship, it may ultimately result in many long-term benefits. Many experts believe that successfully completing an internship is essential to getting hired after graduation, and that participating in multiple internships can set the college graduate apart from others in the job hunt.
Below are some tips to share with your children to help them obtain an internship:
Use social media sites to network. Post your interest in an internship and the field in which you want to intern; inquire about openings or connections. Use LinkedIn to create a profile and to connect with companies that interest you. Talk to anyone you know with connections to companies that interest you. Speak to neighbors, family, friends, parents of friends, alumni, supervisors, and the Career Center at your school. Speak to professors within relevant academic departments to see if they can refer you to anyone or guide you in some way. Consider using a recruiter to provide you with opportunities.
Utilize the Internet
Research to see which sites are most targeted for the field or company where you hope to intern. Utilize popular databases such as Internships.com, WayUp.com, YouTern.com, Indeed.com, and Idealist.org. Search promising companies and find a contact person. Explore the site to see if it has information on internships and careers, and look to see if there are any upcoming events that you can attend.
When creating a resume and/or cover letter, make sure that it is grammatically correct and professionally written. Have someone you trust proof-read it. Do not use a sample template. Utilize the Career Center at your school for support on how to make your cover letter stand out. Before an interview, do your research. Learn about the industry. Research the company. What is its mission? What is its vision, and who are the people who work there? Dress professionally and conservatively on the interview. Review your own social media presence and consider what your profile and pictures say about you to a prospective company that may search you.
The Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University conducted a study on internships, and they found that 63 percent of college graduates who had completed an internship received job offers within six months of graduating compared to the 35 percent of students who were offered a job without ever interning.
Completing an internship also affects salary negotiations. Reflect on where you will get the most hands on experience and be offered the most responsibility. This is often more important than how recognizable a company’s name may be. Be open to different roles and responsibilities other than the ones you are seeking or anticipating.
Graziella Simonetti is a parent educator for EAC Network’s Long Island Parenting Institute and works as an early childhood social worker for the New York City Department of Education. She holds an advanced certificate in parent education from Adelphi University and is a NYSPEP credentialed parenting educator. Simonetti is a former kindergarten teacher.