A successful internship can be one of the first steps toward a successful career. However, it can a time-waster if chosen poorly.
For anyone who has started looking for an internship: you’ve come to the right place. We’ll help you succeed in your search.
In this article, we are going to review eight common mistakes students make when choosing an internship program. Tips on how to avoid them are also included to make sure you’re on the right track.
Focusing on getting one internship
If you have been interested in working with a particular company, it’s highly likely that you will direct most of your effort into getting into the internship program they offer. You might even discontinue the search for other options because this is your dream internship. Perhaps, you’ll spend all your time trying to prepare as best as possible for the interview at that company.
While working in a company you’re interested in certainly sounds great, you should not stop your search. What if you fail the interview? What if they choose someone else? Then you’ll miss out on many other opportunities.
Not diversifying your search
Are you looking for internships online? There are many other ways to find internships, including looking through classified ads, attending career fairs, visiting your local Chamber of Commerce, and more. By going with only one search method, you might be limiting your possibilities.
Not selecting the internship you truly want
Many people are so focused on being grateful that they were accepted, they don’t consider making requests when they work for free (makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?). This isn’t to say that you should act like a king or a queen of everything. Just make sure that the program you applied to offers you a job you really want.
If deep down inside you feel like the internship will not satisfy your demands, then don’t apply. Make your demands and consider applying only to those programs that make you jump out of your bed in the morning.
Looking for an internship in your area
Many students prefer to apply for internships in their hometown or county. This makes sense because it would easier to commute. On the other hand, completing an internship further away can be a better career booster because it helps you to stand out in a crowd. If you think it’s too expensive for you, there are always ways to split accommodation costs with others, such as subletting your own apartment.
Choose challenge over convenience and you’ll be rewarded nicely.
Losing momentum after being rejected
To get a dream internship, you need patience and time. Don’t think that you’ll be accepted by every company you’ve sent a resume to. There will be no replies or rejections, and it’s very easy to become upset and give up.
Be prepared for this scenario and organize your effort. Losing momentum might be very discouraging, so try your best to avoid it by acknowledging possible rejections.
Being afraid to choose big companies
The best and the largest companies in the industry are highly demanding. They need employees and interns to perform a lot of duties every day, but the experience gained is very rewarding in terms of new skills and abilities.
According to Barbara W. Handy, HR Manager at Awriter, some students are afraid to apply for internships at industry leaders because of complex tasks. By preferring to go with easier programs, they lose the opportunity to strengthen their personal brands and therefore a better chance to get a great job in the future.
Not having some time for relaxation
Of course, looking for an internship is a daunting task. Rejections and lack of replies can be really disappointing, so you have to learn how to deal with them. To continue the search and be positive, spend at least a few hours having fun with your friends and family. Go to a restaurant, a ball game, or a party. They will keep you refreshed and ready to continue the search.
Not asking around for advice
Your friends, relatives, professors, classmates, and other people can be a great source of knowledge. Ask them to share their internship experiences and mistakes, and be ready to learn!
An internship can be a truly enriching experience if you take the search seriously. Consider the tips in this article and try to avoid making these mistakes.
The last thing that you need to remember that planning is key to securing a great internship. Begin to plan your search months before actually starting to send out applications.
Good luck with the search!
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