How Young Women Can Land The Right In­tern­ship

Riverbank News - - WOMEN IN BUSINESS 2017 -

In­tern­ships pro­vide great op­por­tu­ni­ties for young women to get their pro­fes­sional feet wet. While class­room lessons pro­vide the­o­ret­i­cal senses of what a pro­fes­sion might be like, an in­tern­ship gives an ac­tual sense, shed­ding light on how a par­tic­u­lar busi­ness or in­dus­try op­er­ates.

In its Class of 2015 Stu­dent Sur­vey, the National As­so­ci­a­tion of Col­leges and Em­ploy­ers found that women (65.8 per­cent) were slightly more likely to have had an in­tern­ship than men (64.6 per­cent). Com­pe­ti­tion for in­tern­ships can be steep, and young women who want to set them­selves apart from the field can em­ploy var­i­ous strate­gies as they search for in­tern­ships.

Learn the re­cruit­ing sched­ule. Some pro­fes­sions may re­cruit in­terns year-round, while oth­ers may only look for in­terns dur­ing par­tic­u­lar times of the year. Speak with your aca­demic ad­vi­sor or some­one in your col­lege or uni­ver­sity’s ca­reer place­ment de­part­ment to de­ter­mine when op­por­tu­ni­ties in your field are most likely to be avail­able, and make sure your ma­te­ri­als (i.e., ré­sumé and portfolio) are ready when that re­cruit­ing sea­son be­gins.

Don’t limit your­self. Cast a wide net when search­ing for an in­tern­ship. If you want to be an in­vest­ment banker, land­ing an in­tern­ship that al­lows you to work along­side in­vest­ment bankers may be ideal. How­ever, lim­it­ing your­self to only those op­por­tu­ni­ties may be pro­hib­i­tive, and you may end up with noth­ing. Main­tain an open mind when pur­su­ing in­tern­ships. Even if you don’t land your dream in­tern­ship, an­other op­por­tu­nity may pro­vide lots of hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence while also al­low­ing you to get your foot in the door.

Tell the truth. Em­bel­lish­ing your ré­sumé might help you get an in­ter­view, but chances are the in­ter­viewer will learn pretty quickly if your pur­ported skills are au­then­tic. In­tern­ship pro­grams are de­signed for stu­dents with lit­tle or no ex­pe­ri­ence who might one day turn into val­ued em­ploy­ees. If a com­pany sus­pects an in­tern­ship can­di­date of em­bel­lish­ing her skills and ex­pe­ri­ence now, that can­di­date might never get her foot back in the door. Tell the truth and ex­press your ex­cite­ment at any op­por­tu­nity that al­lows you to ap­ply class­room lessons in real world set­tings.

Don’t ac­cept just any in­tern­ship. Not ev­ery in­tern­ship is worth the ef­fort. While in­terns may be asked to per­form some me­nial tasks dur­ing their in­tern­ships, the right op­por­tu­ni­ties af­ford in­terns the chance to get pro­fes­sional ex­pe­ri­ence and in­ter­act with work­ing pro­fes­sion­als. If an op­por­tu­nity is largely or ex­clu­sively cler­i­cal, you might be bet­ter off con­tin­u­ing your search or vol­un­teer­ing with a firm.

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