Want to build your resume, make great connections, have real-world experiences, and leave college ready for a career? You need an internship! Sharise Kent has written the manual on internships and shares everything you need to know including how to find one, what to expect, and how to prepare.
About Sharise Kent
Author of “The Internship Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting the Internship of Your Dreams”.
This book explains why to do an internship, how to find one, and what to do once you get an internship. “It’s the manual. It’s walking you from A to Z and giving you what you need to understand in that process,” notes Kent.
Kent began her career as a college admission professional and then transitioned into a nonprofit and has helped over 400 students with internships.
Internship Defined and Explained
“An internship is supposed to be a learning experience,” expands Kent. A good internship is an opportunity to:
- Be mentored.
- Learn new skills.
- Expand your network.
- Explore a career from 8 to 12 weeks.
- Be professional.
- Experience an office.
- There is a different environment in an office that usually includes bigger goals.
It is an experience that will enhance education and let a student explore what makes them a great professional. This is different from a regular job because it is a training environment and not just for a paycheck.
“When you look for a college, you want to investigate the career services department as a whole,” recommends Kent. This doesn’t need to make or break your decision about a college, but it is certainly a positive to consider.
There are some career paths that integrate field experiences such as:
- Student Teaching
- Medical Professions
- Social Work
This is different from an internship because there isn’t much choice or exploration. These majors usually have required amounts of hours, or work, as part of completing that degree and entering the work force.
Some internships require a portfolio or some classwork already completed, but it isn’t only for juniors and seniors! High school students can, and should, apply for internships.
“The culture is shifting and changing because employers are recognizing that if they can introduce young people to these types of careers as early as high school, they are going to introduce them to things they wouldn’t have majored in or would not have pursued careers in,” states Kent.
Kent strongly recommends looking into internships beginning as early as freshman year.
Doing an internship for course credit needs to be approved by your department or career services. Academic internships can usually earn 3 credits and often require a paper or project that shows evidence of learning.
Paid internships vary. Some companies give stipends, offer paid transportation, or regular pay starting at minimum wage or more. Typically you are treated just like an employee.
“The time to look for summer internships is November for the following summer,” warns Kent.
How to Pursue an Internship
There are 5 quick ways to find an internship:
- Ask around.
- Talk to EVERYONE.
- Parents can help by using their own network (where they work or through fraternity/sorority) and ask there.
- Go to your college’s Career Services.
- There is usually a free job/internship fair on campus.
- Don’t ignore small businesses or nonprofits.
- Walk in and just ask.
- Might not be for credit or money, but it will go on your resume.
- Online searches.
- Internship programs.
- You can find them online where you get paired with a company.
- Walk in and just ask.
“If you are doing all five of those diligently, you are going to find an internship,” assures Kent.
Prepare for an internship by having a good resume, do mock interviews, dress for success, and have a LinkedIn account.
Kent acknowledges, “There might be a $10 -$40 application fee, but as a nonprofit that is just to defray the cost.” For profit companies have a different system.
Internships away from home cost money for living. If it is paid, will that cover the cost of living or moving away for the summer? Transportation also needs to be considered when applying.
Career planning starts in high school. Internships are vital for experience and resume building. Kent points out, “Everybody who graduates college has a degree. Why should an employer hire you over that other person?”
More about “The Internship Manual”
Kent authored this book based on her experience and the experiences of some of the over 400 interns she helped placed. “I thought a lot about the things that students come to me with and tried to put those into the book,” describes Kent.
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Brad is not affiliated with Sharise Kent or The Internship Manual.