What is an internship?
The complete definition of an internship is the position of a student or trainee who works in an organization, sometimes without pay, in order to gain work experience or satisfy requirements for a qualification. Now you may be thinking, but what can an internship really offer me and where do I even start to apply? Today, I will cover the tools you need to land the internship you want and the reason behind why an internship is so important.
The benefits. This is an opportunity to do acquire many different skills like establishing relationships with a mentor or a chance to network. Having an internship can also include college credit and an introduction to the field’s culture so that in the future you know what to expect when applying for jobs. I recently spoke to Dayana Falcon, the Sales Marketing Manager within the office of Consumer Products and Interactive for Walt Disney World and had the chance to ask her a question about internships.
Why should a student complete an intership?
“Internships are very important because it allows students the opportunity to get real world experience in the professional world, network and step out of their comfort zone,” said Ms. Falcon, “And out of those three I would stress that networking is the most important, ask those you admire to breakfast and lunch multiple times during your internship and invest into creating that relationship.”
This then provides hands-on opportunity to work in the field you want and applies your studies to the real world and build valuable experience so that when you apply for jobs you will be a candidate that stands out from the rest. Now let’s move on to how to create a plan for getting the internship you desire.
The four main tips and tricks to landing an internship.
- Let’s start off with talking to your professors and mentors. These individuals typically have unlimited information to other professionals in your field. The best way to build a relationship with your professor is to step into their office hours so that when an opportunity pops up they know who to pass that along to.
- Next would be to network with your fellow students. Many people have either participated in an internship or they know someone who does. If you know someone who holds an internship that you wish to complete then it is important to head straight to the source so that you receive correct information about the process of applying and the atmosphere of the company.
- Once again, friends make great resources but there is another outlet most people tend to forget and that is their family members. If you know a relative that holds a career that you aspire to also have then the best chance of you securing a job within that field would be to speak to them about how they built their network.
- And the most underutilized, check out internship sites on the internet. The place where everything can be searched is an amazing device to help you not only find the internship of your dreams, but also assist you in the application process.
Another opportunity to help you decide where you would like to have internship would be to participate in a job shadow.
The photo to the right includes me, another individual to the far right who is also a student and an employee who graciously showed us the ins and outs of what it’s like to work in a small boutique firm.
Here is a link that includes the 10 coolest internships to help you get ideas of where to start.
To continue with the theme of speaking to individuals who work for Walt Disney World, I had the chance to speak with Christina Oakes, a student at the University of Florida studying business and administration with a specialization in travel and tourism. Ms. Oakes recently was accepted into the Disney College Program which is a semester-long paid internship at the Walt Disney World® Resort near Orlando, FL or the Disneyland® Resort in Anaheim, CA, in which students work in a front-line role at theme parks and resorts, participate in college-level coursework and live in company-sponsored housing with other students from around the globe.
When I asked her about the skills she needed to guarantee success when applying for this internship, she replied,
“A skill I think is very important to get it interview is to research about the company you are applying for. Also about the position you’re applying for. Speak with people that have had that position and what they thought was important in that position. I also think it is very important to explore yourself before your interview. Make sure you understand what makes you different from every other applicant. This can be done by doing personality test or talking to friends and family and asking them what makes you unique,” said Ms. Oakes
Now that you know why you should get an internship and how to find one, what is stopping you?
Here is a quote to inspire you when completing your next internship.
We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
– Walt Disney