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College isn’t just classes, homework and studying. It’s also about gathering experiences, and learning what you really want to do once you graduate.

The best, and most harm free way to do that, is internships. Sometimes they pay, and sometimes they can be used for class credit, but they’re always a great learning experience.

Internships may seem intimidating to get, but by taking a few easy steps, you’ll be able to have one in your hands in no time.

Get your resume together

Almost every job application will ask for a resume. This is the easiest way for employers to get an idea of who you are, and what you’re capable of doing.

It’s absolutely okay if you’ve never worked anywhere. “Experience” on a resume doesn’t necessarily mean working experience, but it can include volunteering and extracurricular activities.

Essentially, wherever you’ve developed skills that you think will be useful to the job, go ahead and put that down on your resume.

You’ll also want to list off unique skills or relevant coursework you may have that make you stand out among other candidates.

Network, network, network

It’s important to make sure that there’s people you know in the industry you want to work in.

Your best bet is to start off by creating a LinkedIn account. Start connecting with your professors, friends and family and see if you can find people who work at the companies that you want to work at one day. Go on potential companies pages, and look for people you have mutual connections with.

Don’t be shy!

Shoot these connections a message saying that you want to work for their company. Establish a relationship with them, and ask them for advice on how to apply.

Start local

There are so many small, local businesses that are looking for help in their companies. They may not pay much or at all, but they will most likely provide you with class credit.

With small businesses, you can get a more intimate understanding of the field you’re interning in.
Let’s say you want to go into the fashion industry. If you intern at a local fashion boutique, you’ll get to see all the action up close, and get to work closely with the owner or designer, expanding your network and learning a bunch about the industry.

Use what the school has to offer

The University Career Services office has a bunch of helpful resources for you to use. You can find resume templates, cover letter templates, worksheets and assessments.

They also offer one on one career counseling, and have career fairs often. Use those career fairs to hand out your resume and meet people you can connect with to expand your network.

Do what you love

Doing an internship is the best way to figure out whether you like the field you’ve chosen or not.

Take advantage of the time you have in college to further your career, and see if you like the field you’re going to embark on after graduating.

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