How to Get the Most Out of Your Internship

This is a guest post by freelance writer Laura Wilson.

Internships are an integral part of college and a student’s future. There are different types of internships: paid, unpaid and working for course credit. The main focus of an internship is usually just to gain hands on job experience in a career associated with your major. However you can use an internship to also reinforce that you are on the right career path.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” – Confucius Tweet this quote!

Having a job that you enjoy is one of the most important things and a college internship position can help you solidify your career choice.

Internship positions are a glimpse into your career of choice. Out of the different types of internships there are, a paid internship is always a bonus – not only do students gain the important skills and experience, but a paycheck goes a long way to paying for all the necessary dorm room supplies.

That being said, do not rule out an unpaid internship; often the skills learned and the experience gained is worth it in the end. What is the best way to find internships? Check with professors first and then the college career center. However, do not stop there; seek out local businesses that may not be hiring; but would be willing to take on an unpaid intern.

Getting experience in your particular field may not always be available in the form of a paid internship, but the valuable insights you can learn while working in the same type of career you want to pursue will be a big boost to get you on your way. LinkedIn is another great resource for finding internships. Search for groups of professionals in your field of study and even intern groups that are on LinkedIn’s network. LinkedIn’s network surpassed 100 million users last year and it is dubbed as “the social network for professionals”. Tapping into those connections on LinkedIn or searching on InternMatch.com is a great way to find internship possibilities as well as starting the foundation of a network of professionals within the vast amount of LinkedIn resources and connections.

If nothing else, internship positions can help you rule out or narrow down your job path and can make your resume look more appealing to future employers. Internships, at the core are about gaining experience and developing skills, but they can also help you make sure that you are on the right career path and gives students the opportunity to test drive a job.

Bottom line is that even if an internship is not required in your course study, you should still seek one out, even if it is only part time or over the summer. The benefits of what you learn as an intern can stay with you well into the career you are laying a foundation for with an internship.

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