Many college students who are seeking employment aren’t hired because they lack work experience. Many are unable to gain experience because no one will hire them. Universities require internships and job qualifications specify that a qualified candidate must have certain level of education or experience because the best way to learn is by doing. Competence comes from action. Employers are seeking candidates with hands-on experience. Reading, watching, and studying are rarely enough to excel in a tough job market. An internship can gives you a competitive advantage.
To make the most of your internship experience, don’t leave without these 5 things.
1) New Skills
An internship is a learning opportunity whose ultimate goal is to gain new knowledge and develop marketable skills. It is a trial run – the best time to try new things and make mistakes. An internship is the time to apply what you’ve learned in the classroom in the real world. You can’t beat on the job training.
2) Tangible Products
An internship is a great resume booster and professional portfolio filler. You want to do more than cram your resume with a list of job duties – you want proof of your work. I always advise my interns to develop something. An internship is the time to handle a project from beginning to completion. Some suggestions include drafting a newsletter, developing a database or writing a curriculum. A copy of the newsletter, print out of your database tables or categories, and a lesson plan can be displayed in your professional portfolio as a demonstration of your accomplishments.
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Nicki Sanders, The Packaged For Success Coach, is an experienced trainer, group facilitator, and program manager. She has packaged her Masters of Social Work degree and over 15 years of work experience into Packaged For Success, a training and professional development company. Packaged For Success provides career coaching to college students, entry-level job hunters, and experienced employees seeking a promotion. Packaged For Success also offers communication and productivity improvement training for employees and supervisors and provides consultation on building sustainable, impactful, socially responsible community programs.
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