The Big Question; When Should I Intern? - Undergrad Success

The Big Question; When Should I Intern?

The Big Question; When Should I Intern?

It may seem like you have only just unpacked your toaster oven and found the right place to hide your gym shoes, but planning for an intern placement can never come too early. If you’re wondering when you should start – NOW! would be the appropriate answer.

Becoming an intern is not everyone’s goal at college, they are usually more focused on a career in their chosen field, but how do you get a job in your chosen field after 4 years studying theory? How do you know if you even like your chosen field if you have never worked it? Internships give you so much more than something to do with your time. They give you valuable experience and a realistic view of the next 4 decades of your life could be like, and that knowledge should be a goal whilst studying at college.

The sooner you find an internship, the sooner you can see if your chosen career is all you thought it would be. Many wise freshman’s spend a sizable chunk of their time securing a place for the summer serving as an intern and reap the benefits of an early placement. If you are lucky enough to be accepted in your freshman year, you then have plenty of time to adjust your studies if your chosen industry wasn’t all you expected it to be, and if it is, gives you an edge when applying for another one. By doing several internships you can explore different aspects of your industry, gaining valuable insight into where you may want to forge your career path.

Internships are not only beneficial to your long term goals, they also offer a mature insight into the ‘working world’, so the sooner you realize what your working life is going to be like the sooner you can start cultivating the skills you need to be successful. The right education is only one requirement for any job, work ethic, motivation, ability to fit in with a team and ‘housekeeping’ habits such as punctuality, time management and dealing with clients are all important attributes that are not taught at college, but are in the work place. You can then grab all the opportunities given to you whilst at college.

Finding the right place to enjoy an internship requires early planning and a lot of research. Keep your eye on job boards to see what internships are available, but as you apply for a placement consider a few essential questions:

  • What are your goals? What do you want to get out of your internship? What experience are you looking for?
  • What training opportunities are offered? It doesn’t have to be formal training, but what type of work do they do and will it offer a realistic experience?
  • What is more important – the experience, or the prestige? Do not be fooled into thinking the most prestigious offer may be the best for your career. Sometimes a position that is a better ‘fit’ for your career goal may serve to be more advantageous than a renowned company.

If you are interested in doing an internship, then do not waste any time finding a good fit that progresses your career goal as soon as you can. You may then find out that the best thing you found during your freshman year wasn’t just how to use your toaster oven.


Emma Street is an HR manager for a Fortune 500 company with over a decade of HR, management, and recruiting experience. In her spare time, she is a freelance writer for Free Resume Builder.

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