Internships: A Foundation for a Strong Financial Future
April is Financial Literacy Month and an excellent time to begin thinking about your future. One of the best ways to get a head start on your financial wellness is to secure the right job when you finish college. Finding an internship while still in school can be a crucial step towards eventually landing the career of your dreams. A training program allows you to gain valuable work experience, develop new skills, and network with professionals in your field of interest. However, landing the right position isn't always easy, especially if you don't know where to start. Our Money Matters highlight seven best practices to help you find the right internship opportunity.
1. Network, Network, Network
One of the most effective ways to find an internship is by networking. Start by attending career fairs, industry events, and workshops where you can meet professionals in your field. Introduce yourself, ask questions, and get their contact information. You can also reach out to alums from your college or university who work in your desired field and ask for advice or information about potential internship opportunities. LinkedIn is also an excellent resource for networking with professionals and finding internships.
2. Utilize your Career Services Office
Most colleges and universities have offices that provide resources and support to students seeking internships and jobs. They can help you with resume and cover letter writing, interviewing skills, and connecting with potential employers. Schedule an appointment with your career services office early in your search to ensure you have the support you need.
3. Apply to Internship Programs
Many companies and organizations offer work programs specifically designed for college students. They typically have structured schedules, training, and mentorship opportunities. Start by researching companies in your field of interest and see if they offer any internship programs. You can also check with your college or university to see if they partner with companies that offer internships. For example, Our Money Matters is sponsored by Wells Fargo, and they post job opportunities and notify us when something new is available.
4. Practice Interviewing Skills
You might be the perfect candidate for a job, but your potential employer may only see that if you nail the interview. Don't go into an interview cold. Do your research on the company and prepare a list of questions to ask to show your interest.
Dress the part. Even if the company has a casual and relaxed atmosphere, you must put your best foot forward and look like a professional. Also, practice introducing yourself and explaining why you are the best candidate for the job. Fortunately, many online tools can help you get prepared.
5. Use Online Resources
Many resources can assist you in finding internships, such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and InternMatch, which enable you to search based on your interests and location. You can also use social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to follow companies and organizations you are interested in and to stay up-to-date on available opportunities.
6. Consider Volunteering
One way to gain experience and build connections in your desired field is to volunteer. Look for opportunities with organizations that align with your career interests. Volunteering can also help you develop valuable skills and make you stand out to potential employers when applying for internships or jobs. And some volunteer opportunities can turn into paid positions.
7. Our Money Matters
Our Money Matters financial wellness platform offers free online resources to help you plan for your future. In addition to resources like budgeting tools and learning how to pay off debt or start investing, OMM also offers help putting together a strong resume and the ability to search for jobs and internships.
Getting the right internship position can set you up for a rewarding career after college and also enable you to determine if your field of interest is the right one for you. By following the steps outlined, staying focused, and being persistent in your search, you will also be taking steps toward building a foundation for your financial future.
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