Jumping into internships is jumping into the real world.
The real world compared to the laid back college world we live in it’s a whole different ball game.
I came up with some tips of the trade I have discovered to help make the transition a little easier.
- Don’t be afraid to network: Don’t be afraid to ask your mom and dad’s friends or co-workers for a job. That’s how I got my first internship, I met my boss at my dad’s company Christmas party. Personal connections lead to great internship opportunities!
- Don’t be afraid to take an unpaid internship: Of course, everyone needs money, especially college students for our random Chipotle runs or to pay for concert tickets, BUT any experience looks great on a resume. You can be taking 15 credit hours worth of classes for your major, but hands-on experience is what makes you fall in love with your future career field.
- It’s never too early to get an internship: I had an internship the summer after my freshman year and fell in love with public relations and marketing. I knew after that internship that I chose the right major for me! Imagine if you waited till when most college students have their internships, junior or senior year of college, and you HATED it? At that point would you be in too deep in your major? Even if you won’t be getting your internship credit for your major, take the internship!
- Make sure to do your homework: If you want to intern for a company, research everything about them. Google the heck out of them, who started the company, where their office locations are, a person to get in contact with, etc. Since I want to work in the music industry, when I’m researching I find out what artists the company represent and not only research about the company, but the artists as well. What’s my favorite song by this artist? How did they get started as a band? Two of the many questions I make sure to research about each company and artist.
- Stay in contact: People in the “real world” are busy from 8-5 when they are in the office. Sometimes emails get lost in the Bermuda Triangle of an inbox. Always give it a week or two, then if you haven’t heard back, politely email the person back to make sure they got the first email. The key is to remember in an email your tone is not present, so make sure to remember you word sentences to where there won’t be a chance you’re being sassy or rude.
- Phone interviews: The best way to prepare for a phone interview is to print off your resume and write little notes next to the high points in your resume you want to hit. For example, on my resume it briefly talked about a huge project I worked on for months! Since resumes are meant to be short and to the point, I wanted to highlight how much work I put into a certain project and show the company how useful I would be. Don’t be nervous, well regardless you are going to be nervous, but take a deep breath and speak confidently.
So now you have put in the work, and you got the internship. Now here are some pointers to transition from college student to the real world.
- Go shopping: Nike shorts and big t-shirts are comfortable in class, but in the office you need to dress in, at least, business casual or even business professional depending on your internship. Even if you don’t have a big budget, Target has a great business looking pieces for a cheaper price. One piece of advice, invest in a suit. I got my suit Fall of freshman year and I’ve used it so many times I can’t count, it was worth the investment.
- Make sure to ask for recommendations: Your internship is about to come to a close, make sure to ask your colleagues to write you recommendation letters. I got every one of my colleagues last summer to write me a letter of recommendation and they have already been useful. They show that you were an asset to one company and in the hiring process during internships recommendation letters could be the difference between you getting a position.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help: I asked my boss to help me write my resume right before my internship ended. She had looked at numerous resumes in her career and I wanted to make sure I worded all my experience correctly.
I hope these tips of the trade help you prepare for an internship and even land a position!