When Should I Get an Internship?

The most common question people have when starting a career in any field is, “When do I get an internship?”  Some people will tell you to wait until your junior year.  I say, “Why wait?”

If you have an idea of what career path you want to take, start finding internships early on in your college career.  Some of the best career advice I received was my freshman year was from a senior PR and Communications double major.

While shelving books at our part time job and making conversation to pass the time I asked, “So, when do you think I should start looking for my first internship? Junior year? Is that too…”

She immediately interrupted me, “It’s never too early. When do you start? Start now.” And start I did.

I made a goal for myself and didn’t stop until I succeeded.  My first goal was to get a copywriting internship.  However, I knew those would be hard to come by without experiences or a book.  So, I started looking for any kind of communication or marketing internship just to get my foot in the door.

After, two internships (one in PR and one in Marketing) I finally took a stab at applying to copywriting internships.  I knocked and hammered on over 20 doors before one finally opened to me.  Yet, I didn’t stop there.  I made new goals for myself.

Everything I did was a stepping stone to get me where I wanted to be in the end.  Now, I’ve had job offers for after graduation and numerous recommendations to back-up my experiences.  Why? Because I didn’t wait to get an internship.  I made the most of my college years, and took the much needed time to build my network and gain experience.

3 Comments

  1. It’s interesting that you’d say that…

    I’ve been in school for so long that the game has changed especially when it comes to internships. At a previous school interning was only recommended for certain majors, but not others. And it wasn’t recommended until we were seniors. But with the economy being what it’s been the past couple of years so many companies have opened up internships where they didn’t exist before (in exchange for layoffs). And they definitely weren’t as competitive (outside of the intern heavy industries).

    Like you said, it’s hard to get an internship without experience or a portfolio. Those barriers to entry go up sooner and sooner. How can a freshman or a sophomore have a portfolio before really taking the courses? They’re more likely to get sales and gopher type internships. Luckily for you, Kassandra, you got something relevant.

    It would be cool if there was an internship guide with disclaimers basically saying if you want to play the internship game here are the rules. I honestly didn’t even think about it til I became a senior. Now… it’s the cost of doing business.

  2. Like I said, you’ve got to keep at it. I scourged the internet everyday. I also didn’t settle on an internship just to say I had one. I made sure it could function as a stepping stone to get where I want to be.

    Also, any experience you have in life – past fast food jobs, babysitting, volunteering, etc. – can be spun to be relevant experience and get you that first internship.

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