With spring fast approaching comes the last few weeks of the semester – crazy! After a few months of classes, I think we can all agree that a break is necessary and well deserved. So how do you plan to spend your time away from the books? Sleeping in, maybe picking up a summer job, enjoying a relaxing time at home with friends? This is a pretty standard strategy, but after being surrounded by constant activity at school, it may get a bit boring quickly. So, you may ask, what would be the best way to chill from the struggles of the semester, but still actively enjoy yourself and fuel a passion for your career? The answer – an internship.

An internship is one of the best ways to gain real world experience with a company or organization in a given field. Students are placed on a project with a mentor, usually an employee whose group needs help with a specific task. Mentors will sometimes train students a bit until they are capable of working on their own, which is when the fun part begins. Mots tasks are not of utmost importance, as a company would have put full time employees on the project if so, so no worries there. Interns are hired so that the company can get a unique and fresh perspective, and also as a way of highlighting talented students to potentially bring on as staff after graduation.

So, what can I do to score an intern position? What may seem obvious, but is probably the main reason why most do not have the opportunity, is simply applying. So many students just assume that they do not have the proper skills or are just scared of putting themselves out there, and so, they make no effort – I can personally relate to this. The process is definitely intimidating, and there will always be other students that may seem more prepared than you, but everyone needs to start somewhere.

Over winter break of my freshman year, I forced myself to look into opportunities for summer internships, which required me to write a resume and cover letter. I was nowhere near qualified for most of the positions that I looked at, but I applied anyway. Starting early in your college career is important because you will start to see trends to what is desired from employers, and so you can form your studies around certain subjects so you can best fit what they would need. The process of writing, editing, and reviewing a resume and cover letter is time consuming and tedious, but once you have these materials, applying to positions and programs is as simple as uploading and sending an email.

One saying I have held close to heart is: “fake it until you make it”. As an undergraduate, or even graduate in some cases, students cannot be expected to have all of the necessary skill to succeed in a real world job. Of course, lying is obviously not the answer, as one could easily make a fool of one’s self in an interview or worse, once hired on the job. Instead, honestly showcase your talents and what could set you apart as a candidate, and confidently show that you are capable of gaining whatever skills may be needed for the job. Don’t be afraid of rejection, it is only temporary and will drive you to achieve higher heights!