By Jennifer Goetz
October is a busy month jam-packed with midterms and events like Homecoming and fall break. As busy as this month might be, it is arguably one of the best times to start planning for the upcoming year. Am I saying that you should start your New Year’s resolutions in October? Of course not, but you should start looking into internships.
An internship is not a necessity unless your major requires you to complete one (like journalism). However, it is certainly a wonderful opportunity to get real-life experience before entering the workforce. It puts you in a position where other members of the staff rely on you and you are a part of something greater than yourself. It’s not like college, where a lot of assignments are individual and you are the only one affected by your performance. In the workforce, people depend on you to deliver.
Where can you find an internship that interests you so you can get that kind of experience? According to a Forbes article from 2015, two places to start looking for internships are LinkedIn and Glassdoor. A different Forbes article from 2016 also lists internships.com and Indeed as solid sources.
LinkedIn is a way to search for internships and connect with employers, while the other sources provide search engines to narrow down what criteria you’re looking for in an internship based on your skills. For internship search engines that specialize in media internships, look at Mediabistro or Ed2010. Another option is to look directly for the business you’re interested in online. Some company websites offer direct links to employment or internship opportunities.
The College provides resources to help students find internships, including the Career Center and LionsLink. Professors, advisers and alumni are valuable resources and connections, as well.
One of the easiest ways to secure an internship is through a connection. I landed my first internship after a family friend recommended me for the job. If you know anyone that works for a company that interests you, reach out.
The best part of an internship? It can help you narrow down what career you ultimately want. There is no reason to return to a place if you were not happy there. It’s perfectly normal to realize that maybe a company, or career, is not right for you. On the other hand, if you find that your internship led you to the path you hope to pursue, then you might have your foot in the door for a real post-college job.
It’s important to keep in mind that internships are jobs and are not personal. If you are not picked for the internship you want, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find something else. It takes time and dedication to look into internships and you need to be prepared for rejection. The reality is that internships — especially paid ones — can be extremely competitive.
Maybe an internship isn’t something you’re interested in, and that’s OK. It’s good to keep an open mind and explore different kinds of options.
Whatever you hope to accomplish in 2017, especially next spring, October is a great time to start planning for it.