Beyond the Books
Top 10 Internship Mistakes That Students Make
Obtaining an internship is an excellent way to advance one's career. Not only can students learn new skills, but they can gain valuable experience that looks very impressive on their resumes. Even more, internships help students become comfortable with how the workforce is before they actually enter it.
Unfortunately, many students don't benefit from internships because they are never accepted into an internship program. Every single year, hundreds of thousands of smart and talented students find themselves struggling to get in the door.
Here are the top 10 internship mistakes to avoid:
1) Not Caring
Shockingly, many college students seem as if they don't really care about their careers. They act as if they don't really want an internship. Change your attitude today. Internships can become high-paying jobs. It happens all the time.
Many students who do want internships often procrastinate about finding and applying for the opportunities. This is a deadly mistake. Many programs have early deadlines. For instance, most summer internships start recruiting in the winter. Start searching and applying now.
3) Not Keeping Your Grades Up
An internship is like a job. Why would a company want to hire you if your grades are bad? It is very important to keep your grades above average. Many times a 2.5 GPA or higher is sufficient.
4) Not Utilizing Your Resources
Every high school has guidance counselors
, and every college has a career center. You should stop by and meet these people because they are there to help you. Often, companies that are looking to hire interns will ask them for recommendations.
5) Not Devoting Enough Time
You get out, what you put in. Don't just spend 5 minutes applying for internships. Try to spend at least 1-3 hours a week. Remember that you want to take the time to find the opportunities that are most relevant to you.
6) Racing Through Applications
Don't fill out an application just to get it over with. Be sure to read the instructions, and give thought-provoking answers for essay questions. Also, be sure to not misspell words - especially your own name or the college you're attending.
7) Not Having Good References
Many internship applications require that you list references that they can follow up with to confirm that you are a good applicant. Don't list your family members or friends. List professors or advisers that you know will vouch for you.
8) Messing Up The Interview
If you are called in for an interview, be sure to treat it like a job interview. Dress neatly and appropriately, and bring copies of your resume. Show up on time, and be sure to look the interviewer in the eye when speaking. Also, shake their hand firmly before leaving.
9) Not Following Up
Don't make the mistake of not following up after the interview. The week of the interview, send a brief "thank you" card to the person who interviewed you. The next week, call or email your contact to see what the status is.
10) Not Being Persistent
Getting an internship requires patience and persistence. Don't give up. Keep filling out applications and submitting your resume to as many companies and organizations as possible. Remember that there are tons of opportunities available. With hard work and determination, you will eventually reach your goal.
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