Finding the right internship can be stressful, especially while balancing classes, college activities, and more. The possibilities are endless in Indy’s incredible community and sometimes it feels like there are too many options and you don’t know where to begin! Today I am writing to let you know that yes, things are going to be okay, and it’s perfectly normal to feel a bit overwhelmed when trying to find the right internship for you!
Start your search early: know your network
Starting your search early is really helpful when looking at different internship options and comparing opportunities. When I was abroad, I learned that at least having an idea of where you would like to see yourself whether it be on or off campus, in the suburban areas, or right in the heart of the city, was a great first step. This helped me narrow my choices into organized categories that I could search for on either LinkedIn or Handshake.
Last semester, my school schedule had been a little bit lighter, so it was easier for me to navigate where I wanted to apply by location. Starting your search as early as about 3 months before the semester ends can help you make those connections with current employers and develop your network to the best of your ability!
To help keep myself organized, I started using an excel spreadsheet and wrote down potential meetups, people who I had already connected with, and people that I want to keep a relationship with based on my connection. I also found that making note of the potential internship opportunities I like based on service, philanthropy, and donors helped me clarify what I am looking for!
Where to search: utilize your network
I highly recommend utilizing teachers, mentors, alumni, and your career center as much as possible! These are some of the most important people to carry with you as you begin your professional career, and are just an example of some of the people that I reached out to who really helped me find opportunities to shape my career. Professors know a lot about professional community members, the career center is completely set up for students to gain job or internship experience, and the alumni base can serve as a guide for you to talk to that is either fresh out of college or well established in their careers!
When searching for potential internships, the main thing I look for besides the position type is the role, hours in the office based on my class schedule, and opportunities for growth or personal development within the role. These factors are important because It is very easy to apply for a position based on a company or organization’s brand or name in the community. It becomes a bit challenging when searching within the company by dissecting the role you would apply for and looking at how this would help increase your experiential learning.
Internships are so important because they give you real world experience on clientele and future opportunities for your career. I would encourage you to apply for a position that offers growth within the role. Maybe it’s a position in which you can develop skills that you may have never thought you had, one where you can see yourself learning new things everyday! That’s what I like the most about my internship with IndyHub. It provides you with the opportunity to grow within the role and expand your marketing and communication skills.
I have started to write down a list of personal improvements I would like to see by the end of the semester. It keeps me grounded and focused as I move forward, and it’ll be nice to look back on at the end of the semester. This also helps you decide whether the role you are applying for can fit into the criteria you have set for yourself. Remember to ask current people in the position you are applying for to grab coffee so you can discuss the role in greater depth in a relaxed environment.
During the internship, ask questions and be transparent
What I have learned at my experience in 3 different internship positions is that 1 you most likely will mess up, 2 it’s okay, and 3 it’s okay to ask questions and be transparent about your mistakes! Asking questions and feedback on your work shows how self-aware you are as a growing professional. It shows employers that you are transparent, and that honesty is something employers value in a professional work environment. Mistakes happen, but it’s important to improve and to work hard because that hard work will certainly pay off! Own up to your mistakes and always improve by learning from others within your organization!
Throughout my time as a college student I have found that it’s so easy to over program and over involve yourself by juggling all of your favorite interests. Know your limits as a student and value the time you need to complete your activities with the best of your ability. This is crucial when considering different internship roles and the weekly hours they offer! Make sure you find a good work life balance, take care of yourself, and remember to still stay connected to college activities because these things don’t happen forever.
Below are some great resources for you to consider when searching for internships here in Indy:
- Your college’s career center or job platform (Butler uses Handshake)
- Ascend Indiana
- Indiana INTERNnet
- Follow companies you admire on social media, you never know when they’ll post an opportunity
The best thing about Indianapolis is that it is one of the best places to succeed as a young professional/entrepreneur. The community and current employers want to see you succeed and help you get to the top! Know this and carry this with you as you navigate through the working world. Your projects matter and if you have a drive to succeed you will. Good luck!
Stephanie Onyeiwu is IndyHub’s Digital Media Intern. She spends her time assisting with digital promotions, including social media and event marketing. She is a senior at Butler University and specializes in communication and engagement.