By Faith Vander Voort
Most college students push the thought of an internship to the back of their mind until junior and senior year, and let me tell you… STOP!
The greatest myth about internships is that you are too young for one.
With a mother as a recruiter/headhunter, I hear the do’s and don’ts all the time. Our routine “how are you” phone calls often turn to her making comments about the superb or pathetic resumes she has received that day. She often tells me that college students don’t realize that receiving a degree simply isn’t enough.
Did you hear that? You could potentially be wasting thousands upon thousands of dollars on a college degree if you’re not gaining out of classroom experience. Not only do internships show that you have gained experience in your desired field, they show that you have time management skills from balancing school and an internship. And no, waiting tables or bagging groceries does not impress a recruiter for a
top accounting or PR firm – no matter how much you want it to.
I may be a sophomore, but it’s my first year of actual college, and I have just landed a fifth internship relating to my desired career. How? Well, for starters, I got a LinkedIn account and went to town with it.
I connected with people in the field that I am interested in, and when I say people, I mean a few hundred.
On top of that, I did my research. I spent hours at my computer finding and applying for internships that I thought would challenge me. On Monday, I received a phone call telling me I was selected for the internship I had been praying about every day for four months. If my fear of inadequacy had kept me from applying, I wouldn’t be making plans to move to Washington D.C. this summer.
My point in all of this is to set a fire beneath you. Get to work. Do your “future self” a favor by preparing for it. Internships are valuable to both employers and recruiters. A signed diploma is just a piece of paper, it doesn’t prove that you have any real-life skills. Get out there and make a name for yourself.