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Open the door to jobs with internships. - October 6th, 2014

INTERNSHIPS AS A DOOR OPENER FOR JOBS

The importance of an internship as a step toward ultimately landing a job, can’t be overemphasized.

The two most important reasons for this are so intertwined, that they’re basically one reason:

  1. You gain valuable experience that makes you a better candidate.
  2. Employers love better candidates!

In a job market that is creating jobs but is still very competitive, give yourself every advantage. An internship goes a very long way toward that end.

So it makes all the sense in the world to consider internships as experience builders – and, at the same time – resume builders.

The internship, though, must be one involving serious work, not being a “go-fer” for coffee or the keeper of the file cabinets.

How to determine – and get – a good internship

  1. Start by identifying industries and organizations (either for or not for profit) where you’d like to work and that would add weight to your resume.
  2. Keep checking the career page of their web sites to keep an eye on their intern programs. If you need to register on their site, do so. If the company you’re targeting doesn’t have this on their web site, call and find out who oversees internships. Get on their radar screen.
  3. Ask around. Start asking questions to people within the organization, other employees you can meet in the organization, and to other people who have done the job in the past. Ask hard questions, like how much of the job is job-related, as opposed to clerical activities. Ask what the positive takeaways were, the value moving forward. And don’t forget to ask about the environment; that matters a lot.
  4. Write a letter – not an email – a real letter, asking for an interview. Letters stand out, and you can always comply with their on-line requirements later.
  5. Networking has a lot to do with this. While you may not yet have a professional network as vast as your Facebook friends list, your parents, neighbors, older siblings, college professors, and other acquaintances do. There’s nothing wrong with leaning on that. In fact, there’s everything right with doing that.
  6. Do as much research on the industry, company, and even individuals as you can. You can never be too prepared. And it’s a good thing to let them know how prepared you are.
  7. At the interview (once you get it), you’ve got to present a highly professional image: the way you dress, the way you speak, and so on. And here, too, ask questions about the job and the daily activities. Let them know you’re serious about this.

All the data show that meaningful internships lead to jobs. Start now by finding the right one.

Career Coach Eli Amdur conducts workshops and one-on-one coaching in Job Search, Career Planning, Resumes, and Interviewing. Reach him at eli.amdur@amdurcoaching.com or 201-357-5844.