So, what’s an internship?

Elissa Aguayo | Sun News Daily

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Your internship experience doesn’t need to be like Rory Gilmore’s from “Gilmore Girls.”

Think of an internship as a way for you to gain real-world work experience, network and dip your feet into the water of a job you could have after graduation. More times than not, a student will choose to intern somewhere that is in the industry of their chosen major. For example, if you are an accounting major, you may choose to intern somewhere like American Express, Chase Bank or even a local, small business.

Here’s everything you need to know about being and becoming an intern.

How to find the perfect internship for you

Sites like Handshake, LinkedIn and Internships.com are places to find internships by typing in keywords that relate to your major or prospective industry. You can even specify your search by choosing the city you would like to work in and search through remote, hybrid or in-person positions. When searching for an intern, it is also valuable to talk to your adviser, professors and peers, as they may have connections that will be beneficial to you.

Jake Harber, a sophomore communication studies major from Pinedale, Wyoming, said: “I found my internship with UMAC [University Marketing and Communications] through Handshake. I was taking a public relations class and found it super interesting, so I thought I’d try and find an internship to see how I liked it.”

Make it well-known you are looking for an intern, and the perfect internship may fall in your lap.

Don’t be scared of the term: “unpaid intern”

Did you know 60.8% of internships in the United States are paid positions? Those are pretty good odds. Obviously most would prefer a paid internship, but there are still positive aspects of having an unpaid position.

Career Coach Asha Stapley said: “A lot of the employers nowadays will try to get you to be paid. If there is a job you really want to get and it is unpaid, I would still probably take it just because you’re going to get a lot more out of your internship than just money.”

Each internship’s hourly wage varies, but the average for an intern in the U.S. is $15.86.

Harber said: “I love interning at UMAC, and the fact that it’s a paid internship has helped me lots. I think it’s great that our school puts so much focus into hands-on learning and gives us the resources to be paid for it.”

Stapley recommends not letting unpaid vs. paid be a a factor of selecting a potential internship position.

You can get college credit

At Utah Tech, you can get up to three credits for doing an internship while still a student, and the course is repeatable. Each department has a different set of requirements to get the credit for doing the internship.

Stapley said: “Once they find an internship, I would try, if you can, getting credit for it. Meet with an academic adviser just to make sure you can enroll in an internship class.”

You will be responsible for ensuring your internship matches up with the learning objectives of the internship course that goes along with it. This may include meeting with your instructor, coming up with objectives, meeting with your supervisor, or writing up a paper at the end of the internship.

What’s the point of interning?

“I believe internships can help you because it’s gaining first-hand experience in the real world, usually in a career that you’re looking into, that will only help you progress and gain experience for when you’re ready to take the leap.” said Andi Munford, a senior management major from Mesquite, Nevada.

It’s all about career prep and readiness. As an intern you get to experience working with professionals in the field you want to go into, and if it isn’t what you want to go into, that’s OK too. Any work experience is valuable on a resume.

“I’ve learned so much and have made so many valuable connections that the prospect of going into the work field after college is not nearly as daunting as before,” Harber said.

70% of interns end up working at the same company they interned for, which shows the importance of being a good intern who cares about the work. Stapley was able to find her current, full-time position at Utah Tech from being an intern at the university’s career center.

Be brave and show a company what you bring to the table. If you are scared to intern because of lack of experience or you are unsure about what you want to do for a living, it is better to shoot your shot than not at all.