It’s Intern Season for college students. While I was at Microsoft, I hired over thirty Computer Science interns for Microsoft Research, from around the globe. I still keep in contact with a couple of them as well.
Internships are one of the single best things you can do as a student to improve your resume when you leave school. An internship gives a prospective employer the impression that you are motivated and ready to learn. You come to a full time job with an understanding of the working environment and industry under your belt. You gain valuable networking and reference relationships. If it is a paid internship, you make money in your field. But probably the most important reason for *you* is that you get to see what you can expect once you graduate and are in the “real world”. It can be a way to excite and motivate you, or a vehicle for you to realize that you don’t necessarily enjoy the work you thought your education entailed.
There are a number of sources for finding internships. The best job board is probably Vault where they have a dedicated Intern section, although most of the large job boards and Craigslist have internships listed. Just use the keyword “intern”.
Your collegiate/university career center should be able to help you with researching companies and local businesses offering internships.
More and more people are getting on Twitter ; I follow Lauren Berger, who has created the site Intern Queen . She has a ton of information and resources on her website, and tweets opportunities. You can also check out Intern Bridge to see what are current Best Practices advocated for employers, and possibly to form some networking opportunities.
But internships aren’t always just decided upon and posted by large companies. You can approach smaller companies and ask them to create an internship, especially if you have done any work for them in the past. You may need to take it unpaid, but the experience can be invaluable. The key to creating an internship is to define a project or set of objectives that can be accomplished in a very set amount of time. And, if you manage to create your own opportunity, when you are updating your resume with that information, make sure you outline the steps you used to identify the need, indentified objectives, the scope of the project, timeline and the milestones. (Hint: these are all elements of Project Management.) The process of *creating* an opportunity is probably more interesting to a potential employee than the internship itself.
Check out some of the resources listed and good luck!
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Thanks Kristen - I found you on the Answers section of LinkedIn and glad I stumbled upon this info about internships. We're starting up a project to expand our student internship program and these resources will be very useful to me.
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