As a student, branching out to the real world is tough – at least it was for me. Just thinking of the word “internship” makes me want to sink into the Dead Sea. When applying to employers in your industry, they are seeking candidates with experience which most of the time, we college students do not have just yet. That is why internships are key to getting your foot in the door for your profession.

Learn how I landed my perfect internship with Coterie Spark.

Step 1 – Self-evaluation

In finding an internship, it is crucial that you identify your interests. You should have a clear mindset, and think “where do I want to be in five years?” Narrow down your options. Ask yourself whether you want to stay close to your neighborhood or venture out to a different surrounding. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone.

Step 2 – Research internships

Once you know your interests, begin your journey in finding the perfect internship. Research and explore. Use different strategies like going through internship listings, attending career fairs, or contacting career advisers. You may also use the most powerful tool in the world – Google – which I found the most helpful.

Step 3 – Getting into action

Most companies post their internship programs to nearby colleges and universities. They also have an online application or email address where you can contact them directly. What I did was call the office to inquire about their internship program. I was then directed to send my resume to their hiring staff.
Bear in mind that each company has their own process and approach. If you can’t find any information about their internship program online, you can call or email them directly. Just make sure to prepare your “cheat sheet.” Give a brief introduction of yourself. Sell your skills and interests. Make sure to highlight your knowledge about the company and their culture. It shows that you did your homework.

Step 4 – Make it a reality!

Once you get into the program, make sure to exceed your boss’ expectations. Use your time wisely and prove that you’re an asset. An internship is a learning experience, but not charity. Make an impact and show them that you are valuable to the team NOW. That said, know that it’s okay to make mistakes. You aren’t a professional just yet.