HOW IMPORTANT ARE INTERNSHIPS?
Internships are key to your career! Your degree and a strong GPA won't be enough to land that entry-level job you have your eye set on. As a matter of fact, 9 out of 10 employers will hire an experienced graduate over one with a higher GPA, related major, but no experience. Internships vary in structure and can occur during the academic year or over the Summer. When considering an internship identify the function, industry, location, and compensation.
Research internships that are related to the career you intend to pursue.
Review internship descriptions to ensure that the work will be meaningful and allow you to apply what you've learned.
Consider what you can do on-campus or through volunteer experiences to help develop the skills required for the experience.
Job titles can shift from one industry to another, from large to small employer, etc.
Be aware of opportunities being posted. Follow target companies and connect with recruiters on LinkedIn.
Not all employers will recruit on-campus. Make use of your network and the alumni database to expand your network.
Be realistic with your expectations. Larger industries tend to cluster. Silicon Valley, Seattle, and Dallas/Fort Worth are home to some of the largest tech companies, especially gaming. If that industry is your goal, you will need to look for opportunities there.
Keep in mind that the cost of living may be different from Mobile, Alabama. If you do not have family to stay with over the Summer, consider contacting nearby colleges and universities about Summer housing options. For example, Spring Hill College rents apartments in Portier Place. Fordham University rents out residence hall rooms for those working Summer internships in New York City.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that the average hourly wage for an intern is $18.73. However, this will vary by industry and location. Many non-profits are unable to pay their interns. Compensation is typically discussed towards the end of the second interview.