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By Nick Gidwani
The fall semester is winding down and students all over the country are busy burning the midnight oil, finishing final projects and papers or cramming for final exams. The semester had passed by at a frantic pace and once it is all over and the dust has settled you will have the time to think about something else besides schoolwork.
One thing that may be on the forefront of many people’s minds is planning for a summer internship. At this point in the year, very well prepared students who know what they want to do are way ahead of the curve and have locked up their summer internship with a leading investment bank, trending consumer brand, or government agency. Meanwhile, the vast majority of under- and middle-classman may be struggling to chose a major let alone, figure out which industry or job to intern in.
Worry not, an internship is the perfect chance to try out different industries and job roles. The great news is that although the fall semester has almost come and gone, there are plenty of internship positions that have gone unfilled and are waiting for you.
Get a jump on some of your fellow classmates and hone “hard” skills to give you that edge that will make you stand out from the rest. The following 3 skills are currently in high demand:
Excel is Microsoft’s classic spreadsheet application and can be used to store, manipulate, and analyze large amounts of data. It is a great skill set to have and has applications in almost any business setting, from statistics to accounting and finance. If you have advanced Excel skills it can benefit you in most any job where numbers play a role.
When the Internet was in its infancy, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialists were able to game the search engines by using a very formulaic approach to webpage development, tricking Google into letting it rank #1, but the content was often irrelevant. However, in the past year or so all that has changed. Google made some major changes to its search algorithms and now quality content is the new rage in Internet Marketing. What does that mean? It means that web content needs to be written for a specific target audience, and written well so it engaging to that type of reader or buyer. Content marketing is also about creating interactive content like video and making it sharable. If you are interested in Social Media and Marketing, understanding content marketing is crucial.
Interaction design (IxD), also known and User Experience Design (UXD), is all about designing for the digital world. However, rather than focusing on form it focuses on user behavior. Interaction design incorporates graphic design and web design with psychology. It is an emerging field that is scooping up more and more attention by the day, as computers and the Internet are becoming an important part of our lives. The applications that people use need to be created in a way that is easy and intuitive, and in business situations may encourage purchasing. Knowing the fundamentals of Interaction Design, can help you land a job in product design at gaming, technology, and internet companies.
The aforementioned skills are really just the tip of iceberg and there are a ton of “hard” skill areas that are in demand by employers. To find out more valued skills, you will need to get out and do some research on your own. Talk to your professors, university career services and get some first-hand insight. There is also a ton of information online, including free courses at your disposal.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and build that knowledge and expertise in to round out your resume and get that summer internship!