The following is a guest post by Alexandra Bideaua. Alexandra is a 20-year-old whirlwind studying PR and Communications in Romania. Here, she shares her thoughts on the value of internships.
If you’re a college student with a passion for your future area of expertise, you should take advantage of your spare time and holidays and try to land an internship at one of the companies for which you would like to work. This is a better solution than getting a job at the campus bar or doing anything else just for money, because it will offer you a considerable advantage when you apply for jobs in the future.
Internship are the perfect way to jumpstart a career, but getting into a special program for college students might be a little complicated when you have a lot of competition and you lack experience.
A way to solve this problem is to get involved in other projects like NGOs (non-governmental organizations) or associations and to fulfill similar tasks with the ones required at entry-level jobs or internships. Even if you simply volunteer, your experience will demonstrate that you have a clear vision of where you want to get professionally, and that you are willing to get fully involved.
You can find out when an internship becomes available through your professors, colleagues and, of course, the Internet.
A great suggestions is this: follow the accounts of your targeted companies on Facebook and Twitter and, if they have one, subscribe to their newsletter. Sites, blogs and other resources will give the big picture about the domain, and these details will always work in your favor.
If you can't find such information, take matters into your own hands.
Call the company and request the contacts from their HR department or whomever is responsible for the company's internship programs. Find out their name, phone number and email address. Compose your cover letter explaining why you would like an internship with them and attach your resume.
With enthusiasm and perseverance, you can create your own chances and take fully advantage of them.
There is also another approach that could help you find out about internships while developing your contact network. Join in conversations via social media (Twitter, LinkedIn) that relate to the companies and/or industries in which you want to work. Ask participates for advice or guidance, give answers, play by the rules of the internet and get yourself noticed.
After a while, ask them if you could get involved in their company’s projects as an intern or if there are other ways you could collaborate. This method might take some time, but the relations you build like this can be long lasting and tremendously worthwhile to your career.
Whether you choose a work experience internship or a research one for your graduation, you can gain different advantages that in the end will set you apart of your competitors and insure your success.
Don’t waste any time! Start searching and building your career while you’re still a college student with a great potential!
A multi-lingual social media maven, Alexandra Bideaua writes about her efforts on her own personal blog, "The (Un)Official Alexandra - footnotes of a Future PR Person."You can also find her on Twitter.