Perhaps one of the shortest distances between both high school and college students' lives and a good job comes courtesy of internships. What, exactly, is an internship? Well, no less an authoritative source than Wikipedia defines an internship as "a system of on-the-job training for white-collar jobs, similar to an apprenticeship. Interns are usually college or university students, but they can also be high school students or post graduate adults seeking skills for a new career; they may also be as young as middle school students in some areas.
"Student internships provide opportunities for students to gain experience in their field, determine if they have an interest in a particular career, create a network of contacts, or gain school credit. Internships provide employers with cheap or free labor for (typically) low-level tasks. Some interns find permanent, paid employment with the companies in which they interned. Their value to the company may be increased by the fact that they need little to no training."
Getting a good internship can be a challenge these days, as my corny, punny blog-post title, above, suggests. For those of you currently looking for an internship, or planning to look for one, I've come across some cool tips to help your quest. They're written by Will Sprayberry, who simultaneously studied at SAE Institute while interning at Doppler Studios. He is the ideal example of someone whose interning experience led to a successful career path. Sprayberry got the hands-on experiences he needed, and has now worked with impressive names including Ludacris, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Akon, and Nelly. Here are his tips:
- Persistence Pays Off: When looking for an internship research proactively for internship positions that best suit your goals and apply early; this will show your punctuality and eagerness to learn. Keep in mind when applying, a "no" today does not necessarily mean "no" next month.
- A Schedule Is a Guideline: While you may only be assigned to work certain hours, make it clear you're willing to come in early or stay late whenever needed. Make it evident your internship is your number one priority.
- Dress to Impress: Take care to dress professionally. Dress for the position you want.
- Be Flexible: As an intern your technical abilities are important but so is your willingness to do everything else. Whether it's picking up coffee, mopping the floor or making copies, you should be willing to do it. Hard work isn't always glamorous but it pays off.
- Network, Network: Develop a solid professional relationship with your advisors during you internship. Use them as mentors and pick their brains about the industry you're interested in. When your internship ends, make sure to request a recommendation and make an effort to keep in touch with any connections you make.
For more insights and a list of the best internships, see this Business Week article.
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