The growth of a college student from the first year of instruction to the final days as an undergraduate is immeasurable. But what happens in the time between these two milestones? Book reading, paper writing and party going generally make the list, but employers are telling us to add another item - practical on-the-job training.
Internships have become an essential key to compete post-graduation, so make your work count. Start building your company "wish list" early on and you'll be able to find the right spot to gain true hands-on training.
Students shouldn't limit their options by solely seeking paid internships. Students should focus on job duties, experience gained and opportunity for growth - in your education and your career. No amount of cash flow trumps the chance to vet out potential career paths.
But what about the actual application process? How are you to compete with other star students vying for the same role? These simple steps may land you in a recruiter's office sooner than expected:
First is the cover letter. While we would love to think these have become a thing of the past, the introductory notes fill an employer in on what students are hoping to gain from the work stint and which past experiences will serve them best in the desired post. Passion, drive and desire to learn are what managers are yearning to see.
Next step is the resume. If you're light on employment history, bulk up the resume with applicable classroom projects, freelance samples and pro-bono work.
The last piece of the puzzle might be the most important tip for workforce newcomers: professional portfolio. It should be stocked full of writing samples, design projects and original pieces.