internship

Tips for Scoring a College Internship

College internships are a competitive element of the college experience. Employers look for the best and brightest to intern with them, and with today’s diverse, capable pool of applicants, there is no shortage of options.

So, how do you find a college internship? Here are six tips on how to best go about scoring an internship near you:

1. Determine your interests.

Get a general idea of what career you plan on working toward, or how or where you think your time would be most well spent. Consider your goals, hobbies, and passions when seeking internships. Get an idea of what you want to be doing and how you can achieve it.

Some college students already know what they’d like to study, while others remain undecided for a time. If you have a career path chosen, an internship that will help you on that road would be the best fit. If you don’t know where you might end up, no worries! Find a subject that interests you and go from there. 

Recognize that some types of internships are more relevant to your goals than others. A music-focused job might be fun and cater to your love of the piano, but if you’re studying psychology, it isn’t likely to help you.

2. How to find an internship.

Think about your major’s requirements. Take into account the credits you may need, the experience you should gain, and the knowledge you’ll need to attain. Keep these in mind during your search.

Do your research. There are plenty of internships that aren’t widely advertised and some that are even based online. Researching open internships related to your area of interest can yield all sorts of results. Check out internships.com for an expansive list of internships in different industries. You can even seek out company-specific internships like Tesla & NBC, or explore industries like mechanical engineering or network engineering internships.

Make a list of potential employers and internships you find. You can also do simple Google searches that include your area of interest + internships + preferred location (ie: Tesla engineering internships in the Baby area, eBay internships in New York City, etc.). How about a Google internship? Prominent companies like Google provide dedicated pages to help guide your internship and career exploration. See Google’s internship page HERE. 

Joining a club or society dedicated to the area you’re interested in can open a world of possibilities, as they tend to post new opportunities and acquaint you with new people. Career fairs and info nights can provide information about different internships and employers. These are all good ways to sort through options and make connections.

3. Ace your internship applications.

Make yourself stand out. Clean up your resume, have references prepared, and find someone to write a letter of recommendation.

Have your application critiqued. You want your application to be as good as possible, so having it reviewed and critiqued by a professional can only improve it. A different perspective can help you find missing pieces and points to revise, which could be the key to your success.

Early application will likely produce better chances of getting an interview, given that most internships take applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Applying early will also make you stand out as someone who takes their work seriously and is a go-getter when it comes to their future.

Submit applications to several potential employers. Don’t put all your eggs into one basket by applying for just one internship. You’ll find yourself disappointed and jobless if it doesn’t work out, and you’ll have a harder time finding new opportunities too late in the game. It’s also a good idea to be open to internships in different locations. Have you always dreamed of living in Chicago but reside in Houston? Search “Chicago Internships” and see what comes up! 

4. Prepare for interviews.

While every interview is different, the questions they ask are similar. Preparing answers to interview questions and mock interviews can give you an idea of what questions you’ll be asked and give you a better feel of an interview to ease your anxieties.

TIP: Wondering what kind of questions you’ll encounter in your interviews? Check out @thebalance’s careers blog post “Sample Internship Interview Questions.”

Research potential employers. The more you know about the company you’re interviewing for, the easier the interview becomes. Most company websites have an About Us page. Know it. Reference it. And be ready to talk about how you can support it. Research can reveal what interviewers are looking for in their candidates based on the company’s beliefs and practices.

Take your research a step further by connecting with employers on LinkedIn. A great networking tip is to seek out your internship hiring manager and introduce yourself through the professional social networking platform. Don’t have a profile? Create one today!

5. Follow up after the interview.

Send a thank-you note to your interviewer(s). You’ll want to do this within 24-hours of your interview. The letter should be short and straightforward, re-establishing your position and showing your gratitude for the opportunity. Invite requests for additional information and further communication in regards to the interview.

Send notes to those who aided you along the way (i.e., upperclassmen, recruiters, etc.). Thank them for their help and update them on how your interview went.

Emails are sufficient, but handwritten notes also work well. If you plan to write a handwritten note, be sure that it will arrive within two days of the interview.

TIP: Want to write a thank-you note but don’t know where to start? For examples and how-to’s on writing follow-up notes, check out:

6. Make a choice.

If you get accepted for an internship or multiple internships, really think about what this new job will entail. Decide which option best suits you, and whether or not you genuinely plan to pursue it.

It’s okay if you don’t get picked for your first choice. Any internship in the area of your choice is sure to give you experience. Remember that internships are about the skills you develop and the perspective you gain. Take the best chance given to you and do your best!

Internships are a significant part of the college experience. Landing an internship can put you ahead in your studies and provide real-world experience that you can’t get from a lecture. Follow these steps to improve your chances of getting that internship you wanted and move a step closer to reaching your goals.

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

Works Cited

Internship Scams: Protecting Yourself from Thieves

As you get further into your college career, you may find yourself looking for more practical experience outside of the classroom setting. One of the best ways to obtain this experience is through an internship. Working as an intern in a professional environment is a wonderful way to learn while earning experience future employers will appreciate.

However, there is a dark side to internships. There are people who will take advantage of college students eagerly looking for experience. If you’re on the hunt for an internship then you need to know about this common internship scam. I’ve also added some helpful tips at the end about how to spot and avoid internship scams.

Internship Scam

The Internship Scam

The  internship scam presented here follows a very common pattern. Here’s how it works:

  1. A scammer will create a posting on a communal job board. The posting is usually part-time, paid, and features the name of a reputable company.
  2. When you apply, you will receive a quick response asking for an interview. The scammer then schedules the interview to take place via a video message program (even if the company has an office near where you live).
  3. Typically, on the day of the interview your contact will say something unexpected came up and ask to complete the interview via chat software. However, some scammers conduct face-to-face video interviews.
  4. After the interview (usually short), you will receive a job offer and instructions to start training immediately. Training will involve purchasing specialized computer programs (ex. accounting software). They will offer to send you money to purchase the necessary software.
  5. They will send you check via email with instructions to print and deposit it in your bank account using your bank’s mobile application. This prevents the check from ever being in the hands of a teller who would recognize the check as fraudulent. Also, the delay time caused by mobile uploads will allow you access to the money before many banks withdraw it out of the check issuer’s account.
  6. After the mobile upload, they will ask you to go to your bank to withdraw the money in cash and deposit it into a provided bank account (typically at a different bank than yours). They will probably stress several times to complete the transaction in cash. Their reasoning is the other bank account belongs to their computer software vendor and the money is to pay for the specialized programs.

The Result

At this point, I’m sure you can guess what happens next. Your bank will try to collect money for the check you deposited and will discover the check is a fraud. The money is then removed from your account for insufficient funds. Because the money you withdrew to pay the other account was in cash, there is no way for you to rescind the payment. The representative who interviewed you will no longer answer your messages or e-mails. It all becomes clear; there was no internship and the money you paid was lost for good. I know of scams that ask for up to $2,000 under the pretense of purchasing training supplies. There are several different variations of this same scam, though this format is the most common.

Internship Scam

Tips for Spotting and Avoiding Scams

Getting caught in an internship scam is scary, but you can avoid it. Here a few good rules to follow in order to help you avoid internship scams.

  • Check the Company Website – Most scammers use the name of a big company on a job board to entice people to “apply” for the internship. Most large companies have a job board on their own website. Check the company website to see if the internship is listed. If so, apply directly on that website rather than through the job board.
  • Check the E-Mail Address – Large companies will have a dedicated e-mail address. If the person you are in contact with is using a general address it may be a scam. Example:
    • Good – johndoe@largecompany.com
    • Bad – johndoelargecompany@gmail.com
  • Never Pay Money – You should never have to pay money upfront for any internship or job.
  • Never Give Out Personal Information Online – Your never give out your social security number, bank account, or other sensitive information online. You should only give these numbers to an employer in person while you are at the place of employment.
  • To Good to Be True – If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. A part-time, work-from-home internship that pays $35 per hour should signal a red flag.
  • Get Out – If at any point during the interview process you become concerned about being scammed, get out. Politely tell the interviewer that you feel this internship is not for you. You don’t need to be rude. Simply say you don’t feel like it is a good fit and end the conversation. Protecting yourself is your number one priority.

Have any other tips for avoiding internship scam? Leave them in the comment section below!

Why You Should Intern in College

Interns Wanted

 

Since starting my college journey last year I have learned a couple of things: a load of laundry makes wallets cry , coffee is a lifesaver, and the official 8 am class attire is PJs and bedhead. I can, however, say that one of the most valuable lessons I have learned is the importance of internships.

So why exactly should you intern in college?

1. Internships present the opportunity to confirm your choice in major.
You’re young; it’s okay to change your mind once or twice, heck maybe even five times. College is the time to discover yourself, I mean isn’t that what growing up is about? That’s what Internships are for; they allow you to experience something firsthand to see if you could picture yourself continuing to do in the future.

 

2. Internships help provide a smooth transition from the classroom to the workforce.
Think of an Internship as a bridge, it connects one side to the other. Internships allow you to develop skills that you can’t learn from reading a textbook or sitting through a theory class. Much internship often requires you to complete critical projects and occasionally heavy research that will help prepare you for future job assignments.

3. Internships allow you to sample a company without having to commit.
Let’s be honest here, commitment is a scary thing. Luckily, internships allow you the opportunity to test out the company, managers, coworkers and the work environment without any repercussions. How cool is that you get to test out a possible future employer without any strings attached?

4. An Internship often leads to a job.
Companies look to hire well-trained, quick learners, self-motivated, and hardworking individuals. Many supervisors give feedback to help interns strengthen professional skills before entering the workforce.

5. Internships allow you to network.
In today’s modern day society it’s no longer about what you know, it’s about who you know. Building up credential through internships helps get your name out there and meet people who could potentially be your boss, coworker, or maybe even future business partner

I can’t stress this enough, an internship is the most powerful credential you can have on your resume upon graduation

A Quarter Life Crisis: Now What?

Now that you’ve discovered (or are on the path to discovering) your passion, it’s time to make it happen.  This might seem like a daunting task, but try taking things one step at a time.  If it’s something you already know a great deal about, you’re already off to a fantastic start.  However, if you’re anything like me, you might not know much about the field you’ve decided to pursue.  Here a few ideas that will get you headed in the right direction and will send you on the way to becoming a happy (and successful!) professional.

1. Find a mentor.  Finding someone in your desired profession, who can teach you everything he or she knows about that field, is perhaps the most valuable step you can take.  Maybe you have someone in mind you can talk to, or maybe you have to start from scratch like I did.  When I decided that photography was something I was interested in, I simply emailed a wedding photographer and asked whether she might be interested in meeting with me to talk about her profession.  It was scary putting myself out there, but I quickly found that people are very willing to help.

2. Get an internship.  While internships usually mean unpaid work, the experience you’ll gain in the end will make it well worth your time and energy.  This will also give you a chance to “test-run” your possible career.  Maybe you find that you aren’t in fact crazy about it, but at least you won’t make the same mistake twice!

3. Teach yourself.  We live in a world of YouTube and self-help books, so take advantage!  There are so many tools available to us that our parents didn’t necessarily have when they were preparing for their careers.  Start by simply “Googling” your career of choice and you’ll find countless websites, articles, and blogs, where professionals in that particular field share their success secrets and stories.  Head to the nearest bookstore and pick up a book that talks about your potential career in detail.

4. Make connections.  I’ve only been working in the photography industry for a few months now, but already I’m making awesome connections and meeting new people all the time!  Each photographer I meet offers new insights and advice for aspiring photographers like myself.  So don’t be shy! Get your name out there, shake as many hands as you can, and welcome their advice with open arms!

Should I Stay or Should I Drop?

Deciding whether to stay in or drop a class can be challenging. Sometimes it’s tempting to drop just based on the professor alone, the class time or the work load. But before making a hasty decision, you need to weigh the pros and cons and determine if staying might be better for your future courses after all.

When considering dropping a class, you should first consider why you want to drop it in the first place. Do you just want to take the class with a different professor? Do you feel bad about your friends all being in a different section? Is it just too hard to wake up for 9:30 am? If you only have one reason to drop—and not a very good one—you should stick it out for the semester. One early class won’t kill you, and might actually make you more productive later on. Being without buddies is a good way to make new ones…or just make your way through the class being the quiet observer that doesn’t annoy the professor. If your desire to drop the class is more than superficial reasoning, you have some more consideration to do.

If you have an overloaded schedule (and by that, I mean more than 15 credits), lots of upper level classes and just overall lots of work, maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to drop that killer class that is so not going to be a GPA booster. If you just want to drop one class because you’re taking too many, you should also consider how dropping your hardest class will affect your schedule the next time around. Would saving it for later mean an even harder semester? Sometimes letting go of the fun elective is the better decision when you have to create a sequence or have to take classes in a certain order for your major.

So, before you even think about hitting that drop class button, you need to do some planning ahead. If the course is a prerequisite for another class you have to take, say no to the temptation. If it’s a course required for your major that you can take at any time…well, consider how hard the class will really be (sometimes the profs scare you on the first day wit their syllabus and grading policies, but they turn out to be super lenient and get off track almost immediately) before deciding whether or not you should put it off. If it’s a prerequisite for classes that you really want to take, then it’s up to you whether or not you want to stick it out; sometimes you can replace it with another class or change up a sequence to still get into the ones you want to take and avoid the classes you could care less about.

If you have a job or internship over the course of the semester, its workload shouldn’t be taken lightly when added to all your school work. If you need a lot of work hours and it’s hard to fit into your schedule with an extra class, then maybe dropping will help your work opportunities. If all you do at work is sit at a desk and do homework while occasionally helping someone on a project, I think you can handle having one more class in your schedule.

At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for your sanity. Figure out what you can handle—there’s no reason to completely stress yourself out if the course is unnecessary or can wait to be taken later. Consider your work load, the time needed to put into the class, if not taking the class will mess up your schedule for the rest of your college career and whether or not the class is actually needed. Don’t automatically drop if you don’t like the professor—having a good relationship with them is important, but one bad teacher for a class you really need to take isn’t too much to handle now and then.

Good luck and happy studies!