When you’re a college student, one of the more prominent items on your agenda is to find experience or employment with the career you’re trying to pursue. In today’s workforce, experience is becoming one of the most critical factors when it comes to those employment opportunities. However, it can be hard to find. For us college students, this can be a daunting thing to worry about on top of the many classes and the degree we’re shooting for. Plenty of competition is out there. Yet on some occasions, some opportunities just happen to find you. In this blog, I’m going to tell my story on how I was able to find an internship during my time in college.
Freshman year was a big adjustment period for me in college. There were a lot of different places to see, new people to talk to, and all in all just a quick adaptation to follow. In one of my first classes though, one of my professors (teaching Business 101) kept hammering down one point: start creating a LinkedIn account and begin to network. “This will provide you the opportunity to create bonds for yourself,” he said. It sounds small, but my professor was pretty adamant about this. He wanted us to begin as soon as we started college. Now, for me, I wasn’t too keen on LinkedIn at the time, and still didn’t think that this was truly necessary so early. Therefore, I didn’t really follow his instructions when I probably should’ve. I felt like I had other things to worry about and that I would figure it out eventually for myself. This was a bad decision, and I do recommend taking my old professor’s advice!
Let’s fast forward to my junior year of college. Things were different at this point in time. I spent about 3.5 semesters on campus before COVID hit, and then I spent my entire junior year in virtual classes. This set me back on my search as junior year is seen as a normal time of going for internships. During these trying times, businesses weren’t doing too well, and there weren’t many opportunities to begin with. Once the vaccines were distributed and things were beginning to turn in a positive direction, I found myself looking for that big opportunity. I finally created my LinkedIn account, as well as Handshake, hoping that I could network with others and create that opportunity for myself. I connected with some friends/colleagues to start my network. I also was able to strengthen my profile, start building a resume, and do other small intangible things to become more noticeable.
Handshake is a very underrated app for college students. Once I built my profile on that platform, I got consistent messages from companies and employers regarding job fairs, events, openings, and a lot more. For these, I would look through them carefully and see which ones I would truly be interested in, but there weren’t many regarding the combination of internship opportunity, location, and my field of study. Then, my patience paid off. I got a message via the Handshake app regarding an internship opportunity that aligned perfectly with my marketing concentration. This of course, was Barton. For me, this opportunity was perfect as it’s not too far away from my home, it was a good opportunity to gain experience in my field of study, and I could also continue to go to school while doing so. I was fortunate enough to find the balance of all 3 and become satisfied. From that initial message, I responded quickly, followed up with emails and calls, had an interview, and got the position I was looking for.
However, this opportunity doesn’t occur without the mindset of building on your network. Using social media apps like LinkedIn and Handshake, as well as forming bonds with colleagues, friends, and family, can create an opportunity that could also come knocking on your door. It’s never too early to do so. I made the mistake thinking it was, and then when COVID hit, I missed out on a lot of time that I could’ve been looking for that opportunity even sooner. Continue to be the best student you can be, find the right networking skill sets, and then you could be the next intern standout.
Looking to find your next start? How about Barton! We have openings in all of our nationwide locations, so apply to one today at https://www.bartonassociates.com/careers/!