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Internship

Via The Muse : The Right Way to Ask for an Internship in an Email

As a college student (and beyond), it can often feel like everyone around you has everything all figured out. And when you start hearing from your peers about the internships they’ve secured, that feeling only gets worse—especially if you’re still searching for an opportunity of your own.

The reality is you’re not alone, and there’s still time. As a career advisor who has worked with many students going through the internship search process, I promise that not everyone has it nearly as together as you may think, and it’s possible that the only things standing between you and a great internship are a few well-crafted emails. (The same is true for non-students looking for an internship!)

While job boards and online postings can be useful leads, networking is key. Reaching out directly to a recruiter or to people you know can make all the difference in your internship search. Whether you’ve been searching for a while and haven’t had any luck securing interviews or just want to be proactive, take the time to write a personal note to a professor you’d like to work with or an alum of your school who’s currently employed by your dream company. It can really set you apart.

Sending an email to ask for an internship might seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! In general, people are very open to giving advice and helping out when they can. Not sure where to start? Follow these four steps for reaching out to different connections (including reading through a few sample emails to help get you started writing your own).

1. Do Your Research

First, start brainstorming who you might want to reach out to about internship opportunities and keep a running list. Is there a specific company whose work you’re interested in? Use online tools like LinkedIn and your school’s alumni directory to find connections at your top companies. Are there any professors whose work you particularly admire? Add their names to your list. You can even tap into your family’s network! Does a family friend work for a company you’d be interested in interning for? Their name belongs on your list as well.

Once you’ve mapped out everyone you might want to reach out to, be sure to prioritize and plan out what order you’ll reach out to people in. Use your level of interest in the opportunity or organization and how comfortable you feel connecting with the person as two guiding factors.

As you’re making and refining your list, make sure you know why each person is on it. You’ll want to craft a personalized message every time and have a specific goal for each note. For example, are you looking to land a particular internship or is this more of an exploratory email to see what might be available at a certain company? If you start thinking about these questions early on, you’ll be ready to go when the time comes to sit down and write your emails.

2. Craft Your Emails

Now that you’ve identified a list of people you want to reach out to, it’s time to compose the actual messages. Here’s how to go about writing them:

Use an Appropriate Greeting

Always use an appropriate greeting when reaching out. It’s one of the first things the recipient will see and, let’s face it, first impressions matter.

  • If you’re emailing a recruiter or someone who you’ve never met, it’s a safe bet to start with “Dear Mr./Ms./etc. [Last Name].” Just make sure to do your research so you avoid using the wrong honorific or pronoun; if you really can’t tell which you should use, try “Dear [First Name] [Last Name].”
  • If you have reason to believe they’d be happy with less formality (e.g. if they work at a startup with a casual culture), you can go with “Dear [First Name].”
  • In the case of a professor, writing out “Dear Professor/Prof. [Last Name]” is the proper way to greet someone.
  • If you feel more comfortable with the person—if they’re a family friend or mentor, for example—it’s acceptable to start your email with, “Hi [First Name].”

Be Mindful of Your Tone

If you’re cold emailing a recruiter or professor you’ve never spoken to before, it’s better to err on the formal side. When emailing a family friend, it’s OK to follow the lead of your past conversations and be a bit more casual than you’d be with a stranger.

Reference Your Connection

Always make sure you highlight the way you’re connected to this person. Are they an alum of your college? Is this a family friend that you saw at a get-together last month? If you’re emailing a professor, make sure you reference either the classes you’ve taken with them or a way in which you connect to their work. Even when reaching out to a recruiter, mention how you heard about the company or if another connection referred you (just make sure that connection is comfortable with you using their name).

Highlight What Interests You

It’s important to show the person you’re emailing that you’ve done your homework and aren’t simply mass emailing about internship opportunities. The best way to show your interest is to highlight what excites you most about this internship role, research project, or company.

If you’re applying to a specific internship, it’s pretty straightforward: Just make sure you reference certain aspects of the role that you find interesting and exciting to work on.

At times, however, you may be emailing without a specific internship in mind. Maybe the organization doesn’t have a formal internship program, but you’d love to have a chance to be involved with a particular team or project. This is OK, too! But make sure you explain why you’re interested in working with that company or department and be specific. This is essentially your way of asking for an internship to be created, and people are much more likely to want to help you do that if you come off as genuinely enthusiastic.

When reaching out to a professor about research opportunities or possible lab work, make sure you mention how their work aligns with your academic interests and long-term goals as well as what you’ve already done that sets you up to contribute to their project.

Make a Specific Request

Don’t be vague. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for the person on the other end to understand what you’re looking for and act on your request. Are you asking to meet up and hear more about the organization they work for or for them to put you in touch with the hiring manager? Are you interested in one specific internship posting or is this an inquiry to see if an internship could be created? If you’re emailing regarding a specific internship, include either the reference number or a link to the posting in your note. In any case, you want the reader to know what it is that you hope will happen next, whether it’s a phone call, an email introduction, or a meeting.

Keep It Short

Show that you appreciate people’s time by keeping your email short. Introduce yourself, highlight your interest, insert your ask, and propose a next step quickly and concisely. People often want to help, but they’re also busy—so they’re far more likely to respond to your request if your email is succinct and it’s easy for them to do what you’re asking.

Attach an Updated Resume

Make sure you attach your most up-to-date resume. In some cases you might also choose to attach your cover letter—if, for example, if you’ve applied to a specific posting separately and want to include your letter as an FYI. Your documents should be tailored to the type of internship you’re looking for—or to the exact role you’re applying for, if that’s the case.

It’s impossible to fit all of your credentials into this one short email, so take the opportunity to further demonstrate your interest and qualifications. If these documents align well with the role you’re interested in you’re much more likely to have someone respond or put you in touch with another person.

3. Look to These Sample Emails for Inspiration

Still hesitant? Take a look at these sample emails for inspiration as you start to draft. Here’s what it might look like if…

…You’re Emailing an Alum of Your School

Reaching out to an alum can be a great strategy during your internship search. If you’ve noticed an alum working for a company you’re interested in, you might think about sending them a note like this.

Subject Line: MIT Undergrad – Materials Science Internship

Dear Mr. Cho,

My name is Jane and I’m a junior at MIT studying mechanical engineering. I recently started my summer internship search and discovered that the Bosch Group is currently hiring for a summer engineering intern in your department. I saw on LinkedIn that you work for Bosch’s materials science group, and noticed that not only are you an alum of the mechanical engineering department, but like me, you were also a member of the Educational Studies program on campus.

I wanted to be sure to reach out as I am extremely interested in this internship opportunity and would love to hear more about your experience working at Bosch and any advice you might have about the hiring process. Do you have any availability for a quick call next week? I know you’re busy and would really appreciate any time you have. I have also attached my resume and the cover letter I submitted with my online application in case it’s helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Best,
Jane Walker

…You’re Emailing a Professor

If you’re emailing a professor about a potential research experience, use the sample below to guide you through your draft.

Subject Line: Summer Research

Dear Professor Jones,

My name is Jane, and I’m a first-year student studying mechanical engineering. I am very interested in biotechnology and am fascinated by your medical device research in particular. Currently, I am taking several related classes, including medical device design and a microcontroller lab class.

I am wondering if you have any availability in your lab for an undergraduate researcher over the summer. I would love the opportunity to commit 20-25 hours a week toward a research project in your lab.

I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this possibility and am happy to attend your office hours on January 9 if that is most convenient. Additionally, I am free on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 4:30 PM. In the meantime, I’ve attached my resume for your review. Thank you so much for your time.

Best,
Jane Walker

…You’re Emailing a Recruiter

When emailing a recruiter, it’s important to reference a specific open role and/or to talk about why you’re interested in the work that company—or better yet, a specific department or team—is doing. A note like this one would be a great start.

Subject Line: Summer Engineering Internship Application

Dear Ms. Hernandez,

My name is Jane and I am a junior studying mechanical engineering at MIT. I was thrilled to see a summer engineering internship opportunity advertised with Medtronic (posting ID #7648) because I have a deep interest in engineering and device design, and am particularly fascinated by Medtronic’s work on patient engagement.

I’ve applied for this role online, but have also attached my cover letter and resume here for your review. I believe my relevant skills and engineering experience would be a good fit for this position and hope to have the opportunity to discuss with you in more detail how I could help support Medtronic’s patient engagement initiative this summer.

Best,
Jane Walker

…You’re Emailing a Friend of the Family

When emailing a family friend it’s okay to be a bit more casual, especially if you’ve met and been on good terms in the past. Use the sample below to see how you could reach out to someone in your personal network.

Subject Line: Summer Internship Interest

Hi Mary,

I hope all is well! It was great to catch up with you at the Chatterjees’ open house last week. I’m reaching out because I’m currently in the process of searching for a summer internship, and I remembered from our conversation that you’re a product designer with Medtronic.

As you know, I’m finishing up my junior year, and would really love to spend my summer as an engineering intern with Medtronic. I’m wondering if you have any time next week to meet for coffee and chat about opportunities at the company. Additionally, if there’s anyone else you think I should connect with, I would appreciate any introductions you could make.

I’ve attached my resume for your reference. Please let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything else I can send you that might be helpful. I really appreciate any guidance you can give and hope to see you soon.

Best,
Jane

4. Follow Up

Once you’ve sent your emails, be sure to give your contacts some time before following up. Waiting can be stressful, but it’s important to remember that everyone is busy, and they may just need a few days to get to your note. If it’s been a week or so and you haven’t heard, you can follow up with a friendly reminder.

Here’s an example of what this could look like:

Dear Ms. Hernandez,

I hope this message finds you well! I recently inquired about a possible summer internship with Medtronics and wanted to be sure to follow up. I am very interested in working with Medtronics and would love the opportunity to speak with you regarding the engineering intern position. I appreciate your time and hope to have the chance to speak with you soon.

Best,
Jane

You might feel awkward and nervous about sending these types of emails, but it’s worth it to try reaching out anyway. Keep in mind that even if an email doesn’t directly result in an internship, each connection you make is still a valuable opportunity to network and learn about potential career paths and internship possibilities. And you never know, someone you connect with now might remember you a few years down the line when another great opportunity comes up.

Via Internship : Common Internship Situations and Questions

Being a good intern (that is, one who’s likely to get great references or, even better, get offered a full-time job) requires a lot of attention to detail. But generally speaking, you’ll succeed if you work hard and ask the right questions. And for those stickier situations, we’ve got your back. Read on for our time-tested solutions to tricky internship issues.

How do I improve my relationship with my boss?

First of all, if you feel like your boss doesn’t love you, please don’t take it personally. Your boss is a busy person, and the situation likely has nothing to do with you. Just like other employees, supervisors get stressed by work deadlines, personal issues, and their boss. That being said, here are a few tips to improve your professional relationship with your boss:

  • Complete all your assignments quickly and accurately. Get to work early, stay late when needed, ask to attend additional meetings, and make it clear that you’re a dedicated intern. Then, ask your boss what else you can do to help them—or, better yet, identify ways in which you can streamline processes or support current projects. Perhaps the two of you can collaborate on a project; working together is a great way to improve your professional and personal relationship.
  • Show your gratitude. Saying “thank you” can go a long way. Be sure to thank your boss for the internship opportunity and let them know that you appreciate their mentorship and support.
  • Take the initiative and set up a meeting with your boss to discuss your concerns. Now, this doesn’t mean waltzing into their office and moaning, “Why do you hate me?” Instead, set aside 30 minutes on their calendar. Ahead of the conversation, prepare an agenda that covers your most-pressing concerns. Then, present the agenda to your boss before the meeting, ensuring that they have ample time to reflect on the questions.
  • At the meeting, ask specific questions to ensure you stay on track. Listen respectfully, refrain from interrupting or making excuses, and take notes as a sign of your commitment to change. Before the meeting ends, ask your boss to help you draft revised expectations, so you have a clear way to assess your performance going forward.

How do I graduate from getting coffee?

It’s the classic internship stereotype: You work your butt off to get an internship and end up picking up lattes and making copies. But before you say no to getting coffee, let’s look at a few factors.

  • Reread the description of your internship, checking carefully to see if being a runner (that is, a worker who provides assistance wherever it is needed) is included. If not, you have the grounds (we had to throw in a coffee pun!) to ask your supervisor if certain unskilled tasks are your legitimate responsibility. They may be unaware that you’re doing daily coffee runs and can arrange to have you reassigned to more instructive projects.
  • If coffee runs fall under your scope of responsibility, use it as a networking tool. After all, it’s a good opportunity to get to know your coworkers and build your relationships. Someone has to get the coffee, and if you’re the most junior person in the office, it’ll probably be you. You might as well smile, be pleasant, and get to know who likes cream and sugar. When you deliver that next caramel macchiato to the CFO, strike up a conversation—everyone likes to chat over coffee! You could find yourself asked to conduct research for that next big project as a result.
  • Take into account whether your internship is paid or unpaid. If it’s paid, you probably don’t have a strong case for refusing to get coffee unless your work description specifically says so. After all, even full-time employees get coffee sometimes! Rather than finding the duty demeaning or discriminatory, consider it a rite of passage. It can also be a test to see how you fit in with the company culture. Are you a team player or not? Chef Thomas Keller, of the acclaimed restaurant Per Se, has been known to clean dishes when things are backed up.
  • Research alternatives. Perhaps there’s a self-service option or a delivery company in the neighborhood. Look for a new high-tech coffee machine that would be fun to use, allowing everyone to make their own coffee. Present your ideas to your supervisor, who will decide how to proceed.

How should I handle work social events?

We get it: You want to have fun, relax, and unwind at work social events. But remember, a happy hour with your colleagues is still a work event. The atmosphere might be chill, but you need to keep things professional. Here are a few tips to stay calm, cool, and collected during work social events:

  • Dress for success. When you’re out with friends, wear all the plunging necklines, eye-catching prints, and statement accessories you want. But this is a work function, so dress conservatively.
    If you aren’t 21, don’t have that glass of wine. If you are old enough to legally drink alcohol, limit your intake. And if you’re a lightweight, it’s better to avoid alcohol all together. You don’t want to slip up and say what you really think about Brad in HR.
  • Mix and mingle. Introduce yourself to new people and start conversations. While this is a work event, it’s also a good excuse to get to know your coworkers outside the office, so talk about travel plans, what book everyone’s reading, the weather, or any topics that are unrelated to work. Steer clear of any gossip.
  • Be friendly, but not overly familiar. Keep a comfortable amount of personal space between you and the person with whom you’re talking. And remember: No flirting with coworkers!

How do I get more challenging assignments?

Kudos for trying to challenge yourself! Taking on more demanding assignments will help you build your skill set—and when you finish your internship, you’re sure to get rave reviews from your supervisor. Here’s how to up the ante at your internship:

  • Make sure you’ve done a great job on all the assignments you’ve been given thus far. Ensure that you’ve finished everything ahead of time and exceeded expectations. You want to show your boss that you have a record of excellence and will bring that same skill to any future assignments.
  • Be careful not to belittle other interns or coworkers in your effort to get more challenging assignments. Choose your language carefully. When your boss asks why you want more responsibility, don’t use words like “boring” or “repetitive” to describe your current workload. Instead, explain that you want to develop your skills and help the company reach its goals.
  • Do your research before you approach your boss. Carefully consider what types of assignments you want to do; otherwise, you might end up disliking your new assignments even more than your old ones. If you’re a Facebook devotee, ask if you can revamp the company’s social media strategy. If you’re a computer whiz, suggest a project in that area. Once you’ve decided what you want to do, prepare a brief proposal, outlining goals, timelines, potential challenges, and your unique value-add. How can your boss say no?

How do I talk with the various people at my company?

In college, everyone’s on equal footing, and pretty much everyone’s on a first-name basis. That’s not the case at every office. Here are a few tips on how to address your coworkers, mentors, and superiors, as well as some ideas about what to talk about:

  • Coworkers: Coworkers can include other interns, junior colleagues, secretarial or support staff, and service personnel. You can usually call your coworkers by their first names, but if someone addresses you by your last name, take a hint and do the same. You can talk with coworkers about pretty much anything, but stay away from money, religion, and politics. Remember that the secret to a good conversation is to ask questions about the other person, rather than rambling on about yourself.
  • Mentors: A good rule of thumb is to address a mentor by their last name, unless that person tells you otherwise. It’s a sign of respect. With mentors, it’s better to keep the conversation professional. Ask questions about the job or your assignment, and always thank your mentor for their help and advice.
  • Managers: Always address managers by their last names, even if they call you by your first name. If they tell you otherwise, it’s safe to follow their lead. Keep your conversations brief and professional. If there’s any recent (positive) news about the company, you might want to mention it to show that you’re invested in the company’s success.

How can I meet people outside of my department?

As an intern, it’s natural that you’ll want to get a better idea of how the greater company functions—but you want to avoid appearing ungrateful or eager to switch teams. Before cozying up to folks across the hall, talk with your supervisor. Let them know that you’d like to learn more about other departments and roles, so that you have a better understanding of everything happening at the company. They’ll likely be fine with it, and they’ll appreciate that you came to them first. Then, you can build your network on your own timeline, in your own style. Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Spend some time settling into your department before you start exploring others. Ask your supervisor’s permission to meet with people in other departments after a couple of weeks have passed—and after you’re sure that they’re pleased with your work. Your supervisor may offer to escort you around to the other departments, introducing you to various team members.
    Many organizations hold company-wide meetings each week. Ask if you can attend to get a better sense of the business and current goings-on. Alternately (or additionally), your supervisor or department head may attend professional meetings that welcome students. If so, ask if you can accompany them.
  • Many schools require you to write a final paper on your internship before you can receive academic credit. Consider developing an assignment that requires you to interview employees across different departments. You’ll learn more about the company, and you’ll have a great conversation starter, as you can chat about their time as a student.
  • You can always stick to more informal networking means by striking up a conversation at the water cooler, in the cafeteria, or at social events. Most companies issue ID badges with employee names and departments, so you can quickly scan people’s badges to learn enough to initiate a conversation. Some interns make it a practice to sit at a different lunch table every day in order to meet new people. You can also volunteer for one of the non-profit causes sponsored by your company. You may find yourself dishing out food in a soup kitchen beside the company president. Now that’s networking!

How do I ask for help?

Everyone gets in over their head at some point, even full-time employees. Whether it’s a regular job or an internship, take comfort in the fact that we learn the most from our most challenging experiences. While you may feel uncomfortable admitting that you don’t know what to do or asking for help, don’t despair. Try the following:

  • Most projects are team efforts. If you’re working with other people, ask them for help as soon you run into trouble. If you have friends or fellow interns at the company, you can go to them for advice first.
  • Do your research. Ask for reports or documents that detail the project history and timeline. Look at past projects for guidance. Once you see the big picture, your part of the project will make more sense. You may also find it helpful to sit down with the project manager and find out more about your individual role and goals.
  • Often, confusion stems from a lack of technical skills. Luckily, there are plenty of online resources to help you out. You might want to take an online course on Udemy or Coursera. Or you might want to hone individual skills on Lynda.com or Skillshare. Finally, you can always watch a few YouTube videos.
  • If none of the above works, you may have to be honest with yourself and admit that this project isn’t for you. Then, set up a meeting with your internship supervisor and explain your dilemma. Emphasize that you don’t want to hold your team back and problem solve with your manager on the best way to handle the situation.

I’m overwhelmed. How do I prioritize assignments?

If you’re super busy at your internship, take the overload as a compliment. Obviously, the company believes in your ability to do it all, and the time is sure to fly as you master so many new skills. After all, some interns complain that they have nothing to do except fetch coffee (see above). Don’t panic or run straight to your supervisor. Instead, learn to manage your time effectively:

  • At the end of every day, make a list of the next day’s assignments, arranging them in order of priority. You can hand-write the list, type it up, or use an online project management tool. If you’re not sure what to prioritize, ask your manager to help you gauge the relative of importance of each task. After you get everything organized, allot a specific amount of time to each item, noting deadlines when necessary. Make sure that you do the top items first and to the best of your ability. The bottom items should go more quickly. At the end of the day, shift any remaining items to the next day’s list.
  • Check to see if your current assignments are the same ones listed in the original internship description. If you see lots of new additions, it’s perfectly fine to follow up with whoever gave them to you. If you’re confused, don’t feel shy about asking for advice. People like to be asked for help; it makes them feel important.
  • Make sure to get to your internship early every day, even if it’s only 10 minutes before the rest of the office. You’ll make a great impression, plus you’ll have some time to settle in and ramp up your productivity before everyone else arrives. Further, if you don’t get everything done, people will be more forgiving. They already know that you arrive early, which is a sure sign of a competent, enthusiastic worker.
  • Maintain a positive attitude no matter what. If you simply can’t finish your many tasks in the time allotted, don’t try to pull 16-hour days. Meet with your supervisor, explain the issue, and ask what you should prioritize. Emphasize that you’re asking because you want to produce high-quality work, and with so many assignments, your work could suffer.

How can I still benefit from an unpaid internship?

An internship is an investment in your future, so even if you don’t get money or academic credit, you’ll be paid back in experience, connections, and real-world skills. Here are some ways to maximize your internship experience:

  • The most effective way to find other opportunities for yourself is through networking. You’ve probably already started building a solid network for yourself at your internship. Make a list of everyone at your internship and find out if they can suggest other connections or internship possibilities. When you finish your internship, keep in contact with people through email, LinkedIn, or good old-fashioned phone calls. Remember, you’re a part of their network, too.
  • Keep in mind that your internship experience is a great building block for your next internship. Now that you’ve mastered the art of being a professional, you’re ready to move up the ladder. With excellent references in hand, you can apply for more advanced assignments at more prestigious firms. Additionally, your past internship can open your eyes to what you want (or don’t want) in your future career. You still have time to change your major and/or explore other fields before you graduate.
  • Every internship provides numerous opportunities for course papers or projects. And you’ve already done the research if you use materials from one of your internship assignments. You can incorporate case studies or company reports (unless they’re confidential) to support your paper. You can also tap back into your internship if you need speakers for on-campus events. You’ll soon see that an unpaid, no-credit internship can still be a priceless experience.

Via Study International : 5 tips to turn an internship into a job

The purpose of an internship is not only to develop work experience, although they are great for that. You can also turn an internship into a job if there is the right opportunity to do so.

If you’ve landed a great internship and would love to make it your job, there are some tips you can follow so you can get hired on a full-time basis.

An internship is a wonderful opportunity and with employment rates being what they are, it makes sense to take full advantage of them as they can lead you on a successful career path.

Here are five tips to help you turn an internship into a job.

Network with others

An internship is a great chance for you to get to know your supervisors and colleagues. Take this opportunity to talk to them about their different roles in the company and what they do day-to-day.

By doing so, you show interest in the company as well as your colleagues, positioning yourself as a dedicated employee.

It will also help you suss out which departments are looking to hire, if your internship doesn’t provide a pathway to a full-time job and is only meant to be on a temporary basis.

Make it clear that you are looking for career opportunities once your internship is over and you would be interested in filling a role, so when an opening does come up, they would be more likely to invite you to apply.

Complete your assignments on time

If you want to turn an internship into a job, you must make a good impression and show that you would be a real asset to the team.

The best way to do this is to make sure you are keeping to deadlines and completing your work in a timely manner.

Do your research

Having knowledge about the company you’re working for, as well as past and present projects they are working on, is a good way to turn an internship into a job.

Your supervisors will be able to see that you care enough to learn more about your company, which shows commitment and willingness to learn.

It will also make the hiring decisions easier, as compared to new applicants, you already know the inner workings of the company and the work that they do.

Be a reliable and responsible employee

You could be extremely talented or confident but if you lack dependability, chances are you won’t get hired on full-time basis.

Employees need to be responsible for their own work and show that they can be relied upon, as supervisors value independence in employees.

Put your work first before your personal commitments during working hours, so that your employers know that you take your work seriously and you are a responsible person.

Don’t make a habit out of coming into work late or taking long lunch breaks, as this gives off a negative impression and might prevent you from getting hired.

Show them that you’re a team player

Everyone likes someone who’s a good team player and able to work collaboratively. As one of the top traits that employers are looking for in an employee, being an active team-player is a good way to impress your supervisors and colleagues.

To show them that you’re a team-player, always be willing to help others, even if it goes above your internship scope.

Be positive and refrain from saying no (unless you’re really under-qualified or incapable of doing a particular task) and participate actively in meetings and brainstorming sessions.

It might be intimidating if this internship is your first work experience, but in the real world, you’ll need to learn how to use your voice and develop confidence. This is great chance for you to learn how to be a team-player and contribute to your team and organisation.

Via Nevada Today : Navigating through your internships

How internships are foundational for a successful career.

Internships prepare students for a full-time job and expand student networks that later help in the growth of their careers. The Reynolds School of Journalism Director of Internships and Experiential Learning, Claudia Cruz, is here to help students attain and make the best of their internships.

“It’s a foundation for professional development,” Cruz said. “Being in an environment that exposes you to what it might be like when you enter the professional world gives you a leg up.”

Cruz is well versed in reporting and the media industry. Originating from New York, Cruz moved to California then to Reno for her current position which she found through Twitter.

“Most of the work I was doing was daily reporting,” Cruz said. “My career has mostly focused on local communities and recent technology.”

Cruz has aided in nurturing the talents of younger journalists and remains connected with all of the media relationships she built. She hopes to use her connections to help students find internships and jobs not only in Nevada but across the country.

“Throughout my career as a journalist, I’ve helped younger journalists,” Cruz said. “I’m still in touch with people I interned for in 1995. What got me hired here was the same skills I used to get my internships in high school.”

On the importance of an internship, Cruz mentions that without this foundation, it is difficult to stand out during the hiring process.

“I’m encouraging internships because your resume needs to start reflecting the job you want; this is how you transition,” Cruz said. “Internships are how you start laying the ground work to show people, when you start interviewing for that first job after college, that you’ve been thinking about your profession.”

She encourages students to start gaining experiences that teach them transferrable skills and stresses that even if an internship is not in an area or with a company where a student wants to work in the long run, the experience will still allow students to become more knowledgeable about the field and the employer.

“A lot of students don’t have a lot of experience or experiences that they are very proud of, it doesn’t matter,” Cruz said. “During the application process you just have to be able to present your transferrable skills in a way that’s well written and shows you’ve learned something.”

Cruz also mentions that writing is the backbone of attaining an internship and a future job.

“It’s so important be a great writer,” Cruz said. “The first step is having a meticulous resume and a meticulous cover letter. When someone looks at a resume or cover letter, you’re presenting yourself; it’s the first step of personal branding.”

Cruz emphasizes that internships and jobs will not be handed to students, and students must be open and resourceful.

“Be personable,” Cruz said. “Learn how to navigate this space where you need to be forward and ambitious, but also be comfortable with that. People will notice you if you let yourself get noticed. There are opportunities out there, you just have to be savvy about getting them.”

Cruz can personally attest that networking is valuable and connections lead to opportunities. In 1998, Cruz was the manager of her university’s men’s varsity soccer team. This opportunity had a domino effect on the success of her career.

“The internship connection I made in college, I used again in 2006 to get myself back to Major League Soccer to intern for their legal department,” said Cruz. “Network! Write letters; write Christmas cards. Now it’s easier! You can write emails.” To this day, she still uses those contacts though now as a reporter.

Lastly, Cruz urges students to “take your passions and turn them into job opportunities.”

Via In Your Area : How to make the most of your internship in six quick tips

Are you starting an internship soon? Leading job board Fish4jobs shares 6 top tips for making the most of your internship.

Lasting anywhere from a few months to a year or more, internships can prove to be an excellent stepping stone between education and employment, but as with school, university or permanent work, you only get out what you put in.

We’ve come up with six top tips for making the most of your internship.

Keep track of your progress

In a journal, a draft email or a note on your phone, keep a record of everything you learn and do during your internship, using figures or metrics wherever possible to make your accomplishments tangible.

Update your CV as your progress through your internship, using your notes to demonstrate your new skills, experiences and achievements.

Ask all the questions

Internships are all about learning, so you’re not expected to know everything.

If you don’t understand something then get clarification, take advantage of your colleagues’ company, systems and industry knowledge, and ask your manager about what you can do to improve your performance.

Connect with your colleagues

Don’t just ask your colleagues about work.

Talk to them about their hobbies, interests or what they did on the weekend – this is your opportunity to get to grips with office culture, begin developing a professional network and possibly even find a mentor.

Never say no to new opportunities

The purpose of your internship is to gain as many different experiences as possible, so never say no to a new opportunity.

Is someone required to help at a client meeting? Be the first to volunteer.

Does the marketing team need a hand writing email copy? Get involved.

If you come to the end of your internship and decide this company or industry is not for you, you will know that your decision is fully informed.

Treat your internship as a permanent job

While many internships result in permanent employment, there’s no guarantee of a job offer.

Increase your chances of success by treating your internship as if it’s your full-time, permanent job.

Your extra efforts won’t go unnoticed by your manager.

Stay in touch

If you don’t get a permanent job offer but have really enjoyed your internship, make sure to keep in touch with those you have worked with so that you are first in mind when an appropriate vacancy emerges.

If you see a job advertised at the company in the future, get in touch with your contacts for application advice, a reference or to see if they’ll refer you for the role.

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