As summer approach, a second year student asks me: “As we are looking for summer internship, do you have any advice for us? What should we be looking for?”
Answer: Summer internship is an agreement between a student and a company where student agrees to work for a period of time to gain experience. Most internships offer a low wage or sometime unpaid but students gain useful experience relating to their fields of study. Many companies consider internship as the way to observe students to determine if they have the skills or “Fit” their working environment so they may hire them when they graduate.
When looking for internship students should think about what kind of experience that they could get and how much does it help them in future employment. This is important because they should find company that they want to work for in the future or at least work in area that relates to their fields of study. Many students make mistake that internship as a way to make additional money and select internship based on the amount of money rather than what they could learn. My advice is do not just randomly select any place that is easy to get or company that may pay you more. Your internship is one of the most important learning experiences in your education, and you must think carefully about what kind of job you want to have in the future, and try to find an internship that is as similar as possible. This way you will develop skills that will be a big advantage for you once you start looking for a job after graduation.
By working there, you may find out that you do not like the kind of job as much as you thought. In this case you can think about working for different company in the future. If you do not like the area at all, then you discover this before you start working. While you are still in school you may start looking for other possibilities or other related fields that you are interested in. An important thing that will prevent you from any kind of disappointment during your internship is that you know what you should expect. Be realistic about the situation as your main reason that you are doing an internship is to learn and gain experience. Always research the company before you start working, and discuss with the hiring person on what kind of working activities you will have.
- Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University