Degrees are great, but practical skills are what will land you your dream job down the road. You’ve heard it once, twice, and you’re about to hear it again, “You need to complete an internship prior to graduation.” Although the task of finding an internship may appear to be daunting at first, I can assure you that the process is easier than it looks – it’s all about being open minded and adhering to an objective.
First, what are you looking to gain from the experience?
Ask yourself what you wish to walk away from the experience with, whether it is knowledge of particular skill sets, expanding your social network, or getting a better feel of an industry. From here, make a list of what you are looking for in an internship; duration, time period, area of interest, location i.e. Internships are great – they’re getting you in a hands-on learning environment that future employers will look at when considering you for employment.
Second, be humble in your search endeavors – no opportunity is beneath you.
Bill Gates didn’t start out his career as the chief executive of Microsoft. Admittedly, I attended the Internship Fair last fall with high expectations; I was looking for my dream marketing job in the form of an internship and was under the impression that I shouldn’t settle for anything less. After having spoken to various affiliates pertaining to my major, I stumbled upon an opportunity that wasn’t the “cookie-cutter” opportunity I had been looking for. In fact, it was a start-up company in the area of real estate. However, I took the opportunity nonetheless. Why? Experience. Although the internship did not directly pertain to my major, I gained valuable skill sets and contacts that I was able to utilize on my resume for future endeavors. Come spring time, I landed a chance to work with a merchandising company that is outsourced by the Yankees during their 2014 spring training season. That then led me to my current home in the Office of Career Services. The experience taught me that behind every door, there is a bigger one waiting to be opened – you just have to be patient.
*Attend the Fall 2014 Internship Fair Wednesday, October 1st from 1-3:30p.m. in Fletcher Lounge, Plant Hall. For a list of companies log into your HIRE-UT account now: www.ut.edu/hireut
Eliza K. Majka
Marketing Intern, Office of Career Services
The University of Tampa