As the hustle and bustle of school happens on college campuses, it is never too early to begin focusing on your career.
According to a survey done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), most college students realize that employers value work experience most in the candidates they recruit. In fact, nearly all of the employers taking part in NACE’s Job Outlook 2015 survey said they prefer to hire job candidates who have work experience.
Relevant work experience is preferred by almost 75 percent of employers, and 60 percent of employers say they prefer work experience gained through an internship or co-op experience.
Many career fairs have already taken place, but there are no worries because we can prepare you on how to be a sensational intern, or as we like to call it, an “Intern-sation!”
Here is a great way to remember three easy steps on how to become the ideal intern. We are going to use the acronym K.W. L. to help us get an internship. It’s all about Knowing who you are, What employers want, and simply Learning to have fun to be an Intern-sation.
First, is the K. Knowing who you are is the first step to becoming an Intern-sation.
Who are you? What do you want? Where do you want to be?
Now, these questions may take some time to answer because it’s something we, as college students, are asked daily. However, these are key questions that will help you to determine where you should start on your journey that will lead you into your career. Knowing what identifies you and who you are called to become is vital for success. Many students switch majors or change social environments because of this learning process.
Are you your major, GPA, or university? Are you the next President of the U.S., Pharrell, Sheriff of the your city, or community leader?
You are your brand, so what qualities do you embody? It’s important to take time to figure out who you are in society or even out of this world. What you want is important as well. This is the part where you really take note of all the goals, dreams, and passions that you have a desire to achieve. Where is that you want to be? Location is something that makes or break an internship experience. Many students are amped about traveling of the state or country, while others have no desire at all. When researching career opportunities, having somewhat of an idea of where you a willing to go will help you focus better on such opportunities.
Second is the W. What do employers want?
This is the fun part. Just like in school, it pays off to do your homework on a company.
As reported by TheBalance.com, visiting employer websites online is a way to learn about their current opportunities. Your college probably has a list of resources, such as their own database, plus resources such as CareerShift, Vault.com, and many others depending on what they subscribe to. Joining professional organizations also gives college students access to professional literature and recent trends in the field. Membership also gives students an opportunity to attend annual conferences, network with other members, and find job listings in the field.
Researching companies’ internship qualifications will also help prepare not only your resume, but your interview as well. Taking advantage of networking career sites like LinkedIn is a great way to connect to people working at those companies and ask them for advice and insight.
Lastly is the L. Learning to have fun once you get the internship.
Internships were designed to give real-life experience to college students. So it’s important to really have fun learning about the company to get a sense of whether you can see yourself working there.
TIME Magazine recently published an article revealing tips on how to have fun during internships. One of the tips was asking senior executives if they would be open to doing a “roundtable chat” or “lunch and learn.”
“If you cross paths with an inspiring senior level manager, don’t hesitate to ask for their email and follow up. I’ve found that this particularly works well if you suggest inviting four to five other interns and making it a discussion as opposed to a one-on-one meeting. That way, you’re spreading the love and the executive may feel like it’s a better use of their time to speak with more people at once. But be warned – the meeting may not last long and it could easily take over a month to actually happen, if at all.”
Are you enjoying the work? Are you engaging to build connections? Get out your comfort zone and be open-minded. You may discover something new about not only yourself, but something the company can use to thrive.
When you KNOW what you want, it helps you when searching for internships. When you research WHAT employers are looking for, it helps you stand out. It also gives you expectations of the employer. LEARNING to have fun is vital to your career. After all, everyone wants to be an Intern-sation!