The internship has taken the place of the entry-level job in today’s job market. It is more important now than ever before to gain this valuable experience on your resume. Most students believe that they are unqualified to perform an internship until their junior or senior year, but there are many great opportunities for younger students to get started early in their college career!
Internships are very competitive and waiting to apply later might be a mistake. Even though the more desirable internships might be earned by upperclassmen, you should take advantage of other opportunities. At a recent networking event on campus, an employer was asked, “What do you look for on the resume of the perfect applicant?” The response was, “First, I look at the student’s GPA, and second, I look for previous internship experience.” Accepting a modest internship during your sophomore year is probably the best thing you can do to prepare yourself for the internships that you truly desire in your years to come.
Some great opportunities exist in sales, non-profit, and management. These might not be positions that you are looking for, but they are excellent ways for you to gain real professional work experience. This will separate you from the rest when it comes time to apply for the next big opportunity.
What should you do when you start applying for internships junior or senior year? You should network with students and alumni and get your LinkedIn profile ready early because this is important. I would reach out to family and friends to see if you can use your personal connections. Informational interviews are a great way to meet new people and gain some information – additionally, there are many alumni that would be more than happy to talk with you about their profession. When it comes time to find your full-time job, the last thing you want to do is settle. It is important to intern early and make the most of your experience!