How to Crush Your Next Internship

The best internship experiences aren’t the ones you simply list your resume. They are the ones where you learn new skills and apply those you’ve already acquired in school. They are also training opportunities where you develop strong professional contacts that will carry you well into the future.

Here are a few tricks to make your next internship amazing:

1. Don’t quibble about money.

Students often balk at the notion of unpaid internships. This can be a big mistake. Many staff members go above and beyond to create great learning opportunities precisely because their interns are not getting paid. Students often work part-time jobs to make ends meet, knowing that the short-term pain of an unpaid internship can lead to long-term gains.

2. Bond with your boss.

The internship experience does not have to be one where you grovel at the feet of a sinister supervisor who commands you to get coffee. Many interns often find that their supervisors are very much invested in their learning. Help nurture that relationship by being responsible, open, and willing to do whatever type of work comes your way.

3. Leave with talking points for your next interview.

After every professional experience, try to communicate what you learned and how you can apply it moving forward. Try to do this as succinctly as possible so you can convey this information effectively on your next job interview.


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Boost Your Résumé Bit by Bit

Many college students worry they have to engage in exotic activities to bolster their résumé. Let’s say you are a business major. It could be satisfying to explain to a potential employer that you did a marketing internship in Madrid, but you don’t necessarily need to cross the globe to acquire résumé building activities. Sometimes, all you need to do is simply cross your campus.

Are there any on-campus business clubs you can join? Better yet, does the club have any leadership positions available? Other résumé enhancing activities include any community service or volunteer positions. And if you don’t have any, try to volunteer a couple hours a month for a cause where you can use your business savvy.

Lastly, don’t forget to include any awards and scholarships. If you don’t have any under your belt, apply! You’ll have nothing to lose, and who knows, your efforts may earn you bragging rights even better than an internship in Madrid.

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Plan a Skill-Building Summer

It may only be spring, but summer will be upon us before you can say April Fools’. Have you thought about what you’ll be doing this summer? Some think of summer as a time to hang out with friends and work on the old tan. Others use it as an opportunity to get ahead and work on their resume. One of the best ways to do that is by acquiring skills to put on it. How do you know what skills to acquire?

The best way forward is to work backward. For example, say you know you want to go to graduate school for forestry. What sort of skills would help you get into forestry school—skills you CAN’T get in a classroom? Can you volunteer at a state park or intern at an environmental agency?

The important concept to understand is that while having a college education is important, the degree itself won’t be enough. Take action now to think about how you can use those hot and lazy months to your advantage. You can still use your summer to work on that tan—just make sure you have a plan!




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