Forget everything you think you know about internships.
You probably think an internship means you’ll only be taking lunch orders and getting coffee every few minutes, but that’s likely not the case. Is there a chance you’ll occasionally have to do these tasks? Sure. After all, part of the reason why you are hired is to make day-to-day operations easier for other employees.
However, there’s another reason why you’re hired. It’s because the employer wants to give you workplace experience and groom you into a full-time employee.
Are Internships Important?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is yes, they really are.
There are a few main reasons why internships are important. First of all, it gives employers a chance to see if they want to hire you. An internship essentially gives you entry into a company where you could be hired as a full-time employee — which, of course, means you might have an easier time getting a job after graduation.
An internship also looks great on your resume, which will give you a better opportunity to find work elsewhere if you want to be at a different company. Internships tell employers that you have experience working with others in a professional environment. They know you’ve likely developed soft skills that can’t be taught in class.
Additionally, your internship will give you experience working with others, as well as working on different types of projects. This experience will help you in any workplace environment.
So, yes. Internships are important. Here are some suggestions on where to find internships:
1. Online Job Boards
Type, “graphic design internship,” into your search bar, and chances are, online job boards will come up. These are definitely the most popular places to find an internship.
There are many legitimate job boards on the Internet, too. You’ll find listings from both local companies and big corporations. Each post will list requirements and qualifications for the position. You’ll most likely have to upload or email your resume and cover letter to the company. Then, you’ll receive a phone call from the company to set up an interview if they’re interested having you come to work for them.
If you want to find an abundance of internships in all different locations, then online job boards are the first place you should check.
2. Job Fairs
Online job boards will give you a lot of options, but it’s difficult to make a first impression without meeting employers. You might be able to secure an internship by meeting employers at a job fair.
You know those bulletin boards full of flyers at your school — the ones you always walk right by? Stop and look at those. There’s probably a flyer for an upcoming job fair. Go to the dry cleaner to get your business attire fixed up, update your portfolio and plan on going to that job fair.
Since your school likely sets up the job fair, it’s full of employers with local businesses that are looking for students at your school. That means they’re specifically looking for you. Make a great first impression and network with employers to land an internship right around the corner from your school.
3. School’s Job Board
Want the perfect combination of the convenience of an online job board with the interest from employers you get at a job fair? Look no further than your school’s online job board.
Your school will compile job listings from local businesses that want to recruit students. It also makes it easy for you to apply for multiple internships within the same area as your school. This increases your chance of success because these job listings aren’t open to everyone in the world.
4. Ask for an Internship
Your dream job may be more available than you think.
If there’s an organization you aspire to work for, try writing them a letter and asking for an internship. Even if there are no internships posted, that company might be looking for the right person to reach out and show they want the job — and it could be you.
What Type of Internships Are Most Valuable?
Now you know where to look for internships, but what kinds should you be looking for?
Online vs. In-Person
You might find internships that can be completed online. This is tempting since it makes the job easier for you — but don’t do it.
The entire purpose of an internship is to work with people and gain valuable professional experience. You can’t get the full experience by sitting at home. Yes, technically you’ll still be working with people. However, employers want to see you aren’t a problem in the workplace. Make sure your internship is in-person.
College Credit vs. Paid
Employers might offer different incentives to interns. Should you be looking for college credit or a paid internship?
The truth is none of that is important.
Ideally, you should look for college credit, but it isn’t really necessary. You don’t need anything in return as long as you can put it on your resume. Looking for a paid internship depends on your situation, but don’t focus on it if you can afford to pay rent while interning. The most important part is the experience.
Create an Enticing Resume
The only negative aspect of internships is the competition. Almost every college student is also looking to gain valuable experience by being an intern. This means you have to create a resume and cover letter that stand out from the pack.
One way you could stand out is to create an infographic for your resume. Resumes are traditionally not visually appealing, so seeing a well-designed infographic will immediately grab employers’ attention. It also gives you a chance to show off your graphic design skills, which tells employers you’re serious about design.
Applying for an internship is always a competitive task, so find a way to stand out from all the other resumes.
Soak up the Experience
No matter what, internships are all about experience. Soak up everything that happens and learn as much as you possibly can!