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Making Your Dream Career a Reality
Article sponsored by Dream Careers
Each year, 1.8 million young adults will graduate with a Bachelor’s degree* and look to enter the work force. When you enter a competitive job market, your work experience can be just as valuable as your degree when it comes to differentiating yourself from other job applicants.
How will you stand out?
By building your resume beyond the education section. Even if your educational background includes accolades and awards, your application can be strengthened by sharing relevant skills and insights you gained during internships or summer / part-time jobs during your undergraduate years. Demonstrating the right kind of experience, in addition to your academic training, assures employers of your ability to quickly translate what you've learned in the classroom to the workplace environment. You can also call upon these employers to serve as a reference when you get to the interview and offer phases of your job search.
Benefits of an Internship
Finding an internship in your area of interest gives you deeper insight into your future field, including what areas or specialties you might want to focus on or learn more about within your chosen field.
Start (and Grow) Your Network
It's not what you know, but who you know that counts, or so the saying goes. Building a network of strong relationships is critical to finding the right job, whether it's your first job out of college or ten years down the road. An internship is a great opportunity to build bridges with the people you meet and work with every day. Establishing and keeping a network is also important for building your reference network. LinkedIn, a professional networking tool, is a great way to make sure you connect and stay in touch with professionals as you start your career. When you have an internship or summer job, be sure to ask your colleagues to connect with you on LinkedIn, and for those you work closely with, ask for a LinkedIn recommendation as well. LinkedIn is free to join, you just need to register and create a profile (resume).
TIP: It’s good to have friends in high places, but don’t limit your contacts to certain levels of the organization. Today’s low-level manager could be tomorrow’s Director. Connect with influencers and people you admire and can learn from across all areas of the organization if possible.
Gain Demonstrable Skills, Learn the Job in Context
We all know there’s a difference between theory and practice. Your academics give you a foundation of knowledge, theories and information that you can take with you into your professional career. How you apply these in practice, and learning what works and what doesn’t in a particular situation, is invaluable to employers when they make hiring decisions. An internship allows you to take the first steps of putting your knowledge into action and increasing your career IQ. The hiring process is an expensive one for employers, and training new employees is also an investment. An internship gives you an edge by proving that you are worth the investment based on your experience, not just your education.
TIP: Keep track of specific skills, software, tools or processes you learn on the job (especially if they are transferrable) for inclusion on your resume or LinkedIn profile. You may want to keep a diary of your internship experience to keep the information fresh.
Find Your First Job
Because hiring and training is an expensive investment for any business, many organizations use internship programs as a screening process for hiring. While there are certainly no guarantees, a successful internship could lead to a job offer from the employer. Whether or not that happens, having the company name, internship experience and skills on your resume will help you stand out as you search for your first job out of college.
TIP: Every day of your internship is an opportunity to grow, but it’s also a chance to prove your value to the employer. Don’t take small projects or tasks for granted – approach everything as a chance to shine.
Enter the Work Force with Confidence
Your education is a huge investment in yourself and your future. Your future can be that much brighter with an investment in the quality of your first job out of college. An internship increases your marketability, hands you a competitive edge, opens up jobs that require or prefer internship experience, and gives you more skills and a deeper understanding of your work. All of these benefits bring you the confidence to apply and interview for your dream job.
TIP: List any work and internship experience at the top of your resume (above your Education section). Many successful resumes include a brief, powerful personal statement at the top about what you seek in a job. Tie that statement to your most relevant internship experience so the resume flows.
If you are majoring in Business, Communications, Finance or Economics, you might have greater success by seeking a domestic or international internship. The Fashion, Film and Television industries are also known for launching careers through their internship programs.
More About Internships From Our Sponsor, Dream Careers
Dream Careers finds internships for thousands of hopeful professionals every year. Learn more below about the most popular internships and how the program works.
Some of the more popular Dream Careers internship programs include:
Finding the Right Internship
Aren't internships competitive? Will I earn any money to pay for food and rent? How does it work, exactly? Dream Careers connects you with hundreds of internship opportunities in your preferred field in major US cities and internationally. In addition, they provide expert support for tailoring your resume and practicing your interview skills.
Check out how Dream Careers works in this video:
The benefits of internships are proven to help you find your first job. In fact, BusinessWeek cites that 76% of employers require internship experience from recent graduates. Learn more about securing a guaranteed internship with Dream Careers.