Summer Interns May01

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Summer Interns

What’s your kid doing this summer? Have they lined up an internship yet? How important are they, and how do they go about finding one? 

We asked nationally recognized youth expert Jill Tipograph of Everything Summer, LLC about the importance and benefits of summer internships for students who are college-bound or already in college. Here is what she had to say:

Summer internships are exciting opportunities for students to discover themselves and gain valuable work experience. They can set you up for college and career exploration. The right internship can be an immersive experience that allows students the opportunity to explore a certain field, meet a network of professionals, strengthen communication skills, understand office life, and—hopefully—earn some spending money. Students should look for internships that are organized and that provide opportunities to partake in as many aspects of the business or opportunity as possible. It’s important to be in an environment where observation and learning are encouraged, along with hands-on experience, even when there are rote or administrative tasks to get done.

How to get the internship you want? Start early. Internships can be competitive and can fill up quickly. Be sure to research and start the process in advance so you don’t miss any important deadlines. Be proactive. Try to create your own opportunities at firms or organizations you admire. Employers like to see students who know what they want and who will work toward a goal. Make sure to ask questions, follow up with interviewers, and offer additional information or references so that companies can get a good sense of who you are. And be sure to leave on a positive note. After the internship ends, ask for a reference for yourself while memories of your experience there are fresh in their minds.

Didn’t get the internship? Learn from the experience. Ask your interviewer how you could have improved your chance of scoring the internship, or if you can get in touch next year. And if earning money is not a requirement, consider offering to be a shadow or volunteer your time for a short time; the actual experience could help you build contacts, grow your personal network, and provide a valuable experience for your future.  

Jill Tipograph, founder of Everything Summer, LLC, is a nationally recognized youth expert who guides families worldwide through the summer planning process. Everything Summer aligns its clients’ interests and extracurricular activities to design the right summer experiences, find the best programs, and help teens get a pre-college edge. She is the author of Your Everything Summer® Guide & Planner and has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, Business Week, Inc., Bloomberg, and on NBC’sToday Show, ABC and NBC News, CNBC, MSNBC, and more. She also speaks regularly on youth topics at educational institutions, organizations, and corporations.

 

Some other things to know and consider:

  • College students should check with the career center on campus for possible internship opportunities and to connect with local alumni who may be hiring. College career centers can also help with resume writing and interviewing skills.
  • Recently, unpaid internships have come under fire and legislation has been enacted in several states to ensure that interns are fairly treated. Whether this means there will be fewer internships available remains to be seen. You might find this article from The Wall Street Journal informative on this issue: Colleges, Employers Rethink Internship Policies by Rachel Feintzeig and Melissa Korn

 

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