Internships are an excellent way to gain inside access to an industry prior to graduating from college and may help solidify your career decision. Understanding internship programs is an important step in deciding if it is the right choice for your career path. Let’s first learn about what an internship experience is and then review the different ways to search for them.
What is an Internship?
The definition of an internship may vary across institutions and companies. Muse.com provides the following: “An internship is a short-term work experience offered by companies and other organizations for people—usually students, but not always—to get some entry-level exposure to a particular industry or field.” Additionally, there are several different concepts about what an internship entails so it is important to do your research prior to an deciding if an internship is right for you. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides a nice framework for understanding the different components of an internship.
Paid vs. Unpaid Internships?
There is a general consensus that internships need to be paid; however, internships may not come with compensation. It’s important to do your research and weigh the benefits and any downside during your internship search. There are many resources available online to help better inform your decision about whether or not to participate in an internship.
What is the Benefit of an Internship?
Overall, an internship needs to benefit the intern versus the company. Student interns should expect to gain a combination of the following experiences:
- Develop and make professional networking contacts and connections
- Gain real-world work experiences relevant to the student’s academic major
- Access and exposure to upper management
- Have a mentor that provides guidance and feedback on work
- Builds confidence
- Secure references and recommendations
- Creates resume content
Do I Need an Internship Experience?
This answer truly depends on your major and your personal preference. Not all academic majors require college students to engage in an internship program, so it’s important to check with an academic advisor or a program coordinator at your university.
How Do I Prepare for an Internship?
You prepare for an internship the same way you would prepare for a job.
- Start your search process before you think you might want to engage in an internship experience
- Update/Prepare your Resume via Vmock in CareerQuest
- Develop and Practice your Interviewing Skills via CareerQuest
- Tap into your Network
Where Do I Find Internships?
Internship opportunities can be found in a variety of places for college students and alumni. Handshake, and the Open Positions tabs are excellent resources to look for internship opportunities within CareerQuest. Also, within CareerQuest, InternPlus was created as a resource to bring awareness to flexible options to gain experience to be competitive in the job market.
- Short-term project-based and virtual internships
- Virtual volunteer opportunities
- Full-time career launch opportunities
- Virtual job simulations, and more
For more information about InternPlus, email email@example.com.
Internship opportunities can also be found by checking out the career and employment websites of companies that you think you would like to learn more about. You can also search specifically on a variety of job boards for internship opportunities.
Popular Internship Websites:
Dr. Raelynn F. Grasso is a Career Advising Specialist at the University of Maryland Global Campus. She has experience leading and providing individual, group, and career counseling, as well as executing and developing programs to enhance college student enrichment. Dr. Grasso’s area of research includes career decision-making, epistemic cognition, self-efficacy, and college student development. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Utah, an M.S. and a PhD in Educational Psychology, both from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.