When thinking about undergraduate internship opportunities, most students will answer “Not until my senior year.” While I am impressed and happy that you are going to do an internship on your senior year, I encourage students to pursue as many internship opportunities as possible before they graduate . While I realize that many internships are unpaid and you probably have to maintain a part-time job to make ends meet, most employers are willing to work around your schedule.
Consider this: If you do an internship (or maintain the same one) every semester from your first summer after your freshman year until you graduate, you will have accumulated THREE years of practical work experience! This work experience will allow to become much more marketable than the next person who waited until their last semester of college to pursue internship opportunities.
Not only will you have a lot of great work experience, but think of the different types of companies you would have the opportunity to try out. As a recent graduate, you may feel lost in your job search and, because of lack of work experience, end up with a position that may not be the best fit for you. While gaining real work experience through internships you will be able to better assess what you are looking for in your career.
Let’s say you are an accounting major. What are you going to do when you graduate? You can be a public accountant focusing on auditing and taxes. You can be a cost accountant. You can be an in-house finance manager for a non-profit organization. You can work with an accounting firm- the list goes on and on! Why not choose three or four different areas you think you might like and pursue internship opportunties. By doing this, you will not only probably figure out the type of company you wish to work with, but you will most likely also figure out the type of company you do not wish to work with. Not to mention you will have expanded your networking skills exponentially.
Keep an open mind about the types of internship opportunities you consider. Even if you cannot find an internship that sounds ideal, consider doing that internship that isn’t what you are looking for, or one that is in another field- this will only add to your work experience and make you well-rounded in networking.
Another possibility to consider is that many companies use their internship programs to recruit their full-time employees. What better way to interview a person than to have the person work under them for three to six months? Many students who I have come in contact with have acquired full-time positions through doing an internship with a company, myself and many of my co-workers included. Make sure to create a good reputation for yourself within the organization – that’s great networking!
How are you going to find those internships and get this valuable work experience? Log into your RIC online account and begin searching for that perfect internship – and keep an open mind!
To find your internship now, check out our current internship listings!