One of the best ways to find out if the career that you have chosen is the right one for you is by seeking out an internship in your field. There is a lot of competition for internships as many college students seek them out during their breaks so that they can build work experience for their resumes and build their list of networking contacts.
Internships usually don’t pay a lot. In many cases, they pay nothing at all. They do, however, give you hands on training and let you get your foot in the door of the industry that you desire to work in.
Even if you haven’t yet made a conscious effort to build a professional network, you may be surprised at how many helpful personal resources you have accumulated during your life. Now is a good time to organize the names and make contact with the people whose paths have crossed yours to share information.
If you have taken classes to prepare yourself for your new career, contact the career services office at the school for suggestions. Most of the offices will have a list of companies who are looking for interns. Interns are beneficial to business because they are able to find temporary employees who are willing to work for little or no money.
Get in touch with the other students that you met during the pursuit of your studies and ask them if they are working in the field. Don’t forget to add to your contact list by asking them if they can introduce you to any contacts that they may have who are presently working in that career.
Join a professional organization that will allow you to meet other professionals, either in your career field or one that may be associated with it. Temporary opportunities for informal internships can often be identified through casual conversations during social conversations when professionals get together. Don’t let this valuable resource to meet people who may be in a position to offer information go unnoticed.
Create Your Own Internship
Contact local businesses and ask them if they would consider working with you in an internship. Even if they do not have a program set up, you and the business can both benefit from a more casual internship relationship that will allow you learn more about the field. Once you let them know what you have to offer and that you are willing to work for no pay, they may be receptive to the possibility that will give you the experience you need to be successful in your chosen career when it’s time to go to work full time.
Local organizations offer a good opportunity to gain valuable experience. Contact the clubs and organizations that have offices in your area and offer to volunteer your skills in the areas of your career choice. Not only will you gain valuable experience, the association with charitable organizations looks good on your resume.