This interesting read from Jeff Selingo, a writer for the Washington Post, discusses the change in how internships have been viewed over the years and what they currently mean to a college-student's future success.
As Selingo notes: "Internships are increasingly the only way for new applicants to get in the door at some companies. Postings for internships now make up a significant proportion of the overall entry-level job openings in several industries, including engineering, graphic design, communications, marketing, and information technology."
But how do you find an internship of note? Well, it's a competitive world out there. I suggest that you start developing professional contacts as soon as possible. Create a LinkedIn account, develop a portfolio and have it on a website, create a strong resume and keep it up to date, visit your career center and ask about alumni who might be hiring.
Don't be afraid to be straightforward with people about your goals. I had one student who went back to see her high-school teacher, one who taught the course she's currently majoring in at college. After visiting for a few minutes, she asked if he knew anyone who might be hiring an intern for the summer. Turns out, he did. He set up an interview and one day later she landed a coveted internship in New York--in addition to three other internship offers from other sources.
This college sophomore is what Selingo calls a Sprinter, someone with "determination and experience." He notes that Sprinters often "move right into full-time work related to their major...."
While Sprinters appear to benefit from having direction early, they also benefit from seeking opportunity. Perhaps Sprinters have always been ahead of the pack, but it seems that knowing how to forge a path quickly through internships can help them toward their future quickly.
A College Counselor who asks and answers the tough questions.