March 14, 2013

Dear Freshmen: Get the internship, get the job

Opportunity Next Exit

By Tyler Mercer —

Well, by now we’re well into 2013 and if you haven’t set a fixed routine every week by now, you’re probably not going to. No big deal; some people work better without routines. The thing is, now you should be able to tell where you have spare time throughout the week.

Now you might be using all your spare time to do homework, study or maybe it’s just the only time you get to relax during the week. By all means, keep relaxing. I know that it is an important part of the day and generally I have difficulties not making it the majority of my day.

Here’s the big point, though, instead of spending that spare few hours on Tuesday and Thursday, or wherever you have big breaks in your schedule, just lying in your dorm room wondering where your remote is because you’re too lazy to get up and look, why not fill that time with something really productive?

Productivity, right now, should be mean completing and turning in every assignment on time, studying for your exams early and hard and in general keeping up with everything you already have on your plate. However, college is also about an in-depth preparation for your career of choice. The best way to be fully and completely prepared is to gain experience and know-how in that field.

Where can you do that? An internship. Yes, the internship has been at the top of quite a few conversations lately. Many people are complaining about unpaid internships and how they are a waste of time. Well, that’s incorrect and you should ignore it.

Everyone needs money to survive, obviously, but an internship shouldn’t be about getting paid. It should be about gaining invaluable experience and developing a network of people in your field that will be able to further your career later on.

So, freshmen, it’s high time you start thinking about finding an internship around town. Louisville is a booming city and is filled to the brink with opportunities. All you need is a little effort and a search for an internship will probably turn up some very promising possibilities.

Having an internship is a pretty big deal in today’s world. More and more companies are beginning to hire and promote from within or from people who are in some way already connected to the company. An internship would be the perfect way to get your foot in the door at a company that you’re interested in working for.

Internships provide the perfect time to showcase your own abilities on the job. That’s something that you can’t portray very well through a one-page resume. If the boss man sees that you’re doing a great job as an intern, he very well may offer you a permanent position at the end of your internship or be able to promise you a position after you graduate.

Working hard at any job is important. Working hard at an internship is probably more important because of the consequences. Showcasing your skills will be the perfect time for experts in the field to instruct you on your strengths and weaknesses. College is a time for learning and mistakes. Finding out what to do and what not to do is much better when you’re at an internship than when you’ve actually got a job that the income from it has to pay your bills.

Aside from internships being the perfect in for a job, it’s also the best time to begin networking in your field. When you start working for a company as an intern, it gives you the opportunity to meet and mingle with people who have not only been in the field for a lot longer than you, but who can give you the best advice on furthering your own career.

The people working for the company your internship is with could introduce you to many other important people in your field. This networking is truly invaluable for your career. Developing healthy relationships with people who rank fairly high in your field will be perfect for spicing up your resume.

If you were a journalist and your resume had to speak for you entirely, it is okay to assume that someone who can put The New York Times on their resume will be a great person for the job, but a person without a strong name on their resume may not be as high up the hiring list.

The same principle works for your references. If you can provide a prominent name in your field as a reference, prospective employers are going to think much more highly of your work experience. It is important to develop a strong resume and an internship is the best place to do so.

The people working with you at your internship will be able to recount their own stories and provide you with information that you can’t learn through a college course. The hands-on experience they’ve had has given them a lot of knowledge about and expertise in their field. You should use that to your advantage and gain insight from the mistakes they made or from the success they’ve had.

The longer you’ve been in a certain field the more people in that field you will have met. This applies to all of those veterans you’re working with. They have been in the field for a very long time and have met many, many people. Now that you have a relationship with your boss, you will have talking points for other people in the field. “Hi, I’m _______ and I intern at ________ with ________. He said you went worked at ________ together. I heard you were looking for a new _________ and I was wondering what experience you’d like them to have.”

How amazing would it be to be able to walk up to someone who runs a company you’d love to work for and because you know both know the same person, you get an interview. Networking is priceless.

It’s your choice when deciding to choose a paid job over an internship. I understand, college students need money. However, using the general manager at Justice isn’t going to give you much when you’re trying to get a job in nursing or Spanish translation.

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