Lindsay T. is a recent college graduate. She currently writes on behalf of Skyo, an online site that helps college students save money with cheap textbooks and flexible rental options.
By Lindsay Traiman
As most students know, completing an internship during college is a great way to develop skills, build your resume, and explore new industries. Internships, however, can also help you with the job search if you know how to leverage them properly. Whether you are interning right now, have plans to intern this spring, or are looking for a summer position, the following tips will help you use your internship in preparation for the job search.
1. Write down everything you do.
As an intern, make a point of logging all the projects you complete or assist with. After your internship is over, you will want to be able to discuss the specifics of your position in an interview or at a career fair. It is important to know exactly how you added value to the company. You may also learn terms or concepts that you can use later to demonstrate your industry-specific knowledge. Showing an understanding of the industry landscape will make a positive impression during interviews.
2. Update your resume during your internship.
Not only are your tasks fresh in your mind while you’re on the job, but you can ask your supervisor to review your resume for you. He or she will likely be able to improve the language you use in each bullet point and may even provide you with a list of intern duties that you can use. Have several people within the company look your resume over to receive as much feedback as possible.
3. Practice networking
For every interaction you have as an intern, treat it as an opportunity to make a connection. Whether that means attending an industry event hosted by your company or simply meeting a new employee, you have the chance to become a more confident networker with every conversation you have. Exchange information with people you would like to stay in touch with, and add them on LinkedIn. Continue to stay in touch, and you never know what career opportunities may arise for you.
4. Conduct informational interviews.
Arrange to interview people in divisions you would like to learn more about, and prepare a list of questions beforehand. Use these opportunities to find out about different career opportunities, and stay in touch with the people you interview. Not only does this make a good impression at your internship, but it will help you consider jobs you hadn’t thought of before. It can also be a way to learn more about that particular industry.
5. Strengthen your weaknesses.
You probably know some of your weaknesses, and you can also ask for feedback from your supervisor. Once aware of what you need to improve upon, make sure you do just that. Use your internship as a chance to strengthen skills that need work. Not only will you develop a more well-rounded skill set, but you can use this as an interview talking point to show that you are capable of self-assessment and improvement.
Your internship is not just a way to build your resume, but an opportunity for career growth. It is an experience that can make you a more confident interviewee, networker, and future employee. If you play your cards right, you can open doors for yourself that will last long after your internship is over.