What is an internship?
In a July 2011 position statement, The National Association of Colleges and Employers defined an “internship” as:
"a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent."
Internships are viable learning opportunities for students exploring virtually any career path, and are often considered one of the most significant related experiences on a resume at graduation. It is important to understand 3 things about internships prior to researching and participating in one:
1. The internship experience is an incredibly valuable tool for professional development
2. The internship experience can have a tremendous impact on future career opportunities
3. When you are interning you are a representation of your brand, your school and your field
Why should I intern?
One common shock that college graduates find themselves facing in is the incredibly high percentage of employers that are seeking related experience in addition to education. Internships are one powerful way to suggest to an employer, I'm ready to join your team. Here are some other important benefits to internship experience, which can have a profound impact on your career direction and opportunities:
1. Determine if this is the right path for you
2. Gain important networking contacts
3. Obtain valuable references for future job opportunities
4. Learn what it's like to be a professional member of the field you are entering
5. Gain a better understanding of your coursework
6. Get your "foot in the door" at a company
How do I get started?
The first step after deciding that an internship is the right path for you, is to research and explore all possibilities. It may be beneficial to speak with someone about the internship possibilities, and you certainly want to make sure that your profile has been updated on Tribe Careers. William & Mary also provides students with a FOCUS 2 Account, which is a self-directed career tool. You may also wish look into some online resources that can help guide your search or broaden your opportunities. Check out some of these helpful links:
The William & Mary Internship Database
Local Internship Opportunities
The Career Center has brokered a wide variety of semester-long, part-time internships here in the Williamsburg area, the Local Internship Program. Internship sites through this program may have much greater accessibility to students, and tend to be significantly less intensive than a traditional summer or winter internship.
You will need a well-written, targeted resume and cover letter for most internship applications, and you will be responsible for having an updated profile in Tribe Careers to have access to many of the internship opportunities.