As busy as we all are as students, keeping an eye on the world beyond graduation is an important way to ease the looming transition from the classroom to the workplace. One great way to balance academia and future career planning is to explore the world of internships– temporary positions with companies, programs, or organizations that can help folks get acquainted with the working world. Aside from boosting resumes and applications (which they are indeed great for), internship experiences allow students to dip their toes into their field of interest and get working experience.
There’s a huge variety of positions available to college students and grads, but it can be hard to know where to start! Here are a couple of factors to consider:
Timing: Some internships take place during the school year, while others can be done over school breaks. Doing an intensive internship while taking classes can be challenging, but it’s possible to find a rewarding balance between schoolwork and internship work. Internships that take place over academic holidays tend to be shorter in length and can open up opportunities for travel.
Payment / Academic Credit: Internship listings usually include whether the position is paid or not; an unpaid internship can be a great and valuable experience, but it’s important to be realistic about your financial needs. It is also possible to receive academic credit for some internships through your major department. In order to receive units for an internship, most major departments require some sort of research or writing project to be completed with the internship. Since each department decides how they want to coordinate with internship positions, it’s best to speak to a representative from your major regarding specific procedures.
Using Campus Resources to Find an Internship
Before you start looking into internships, you may want to check out the Career Counseling Library located right outside of the Tang Health Center. You can schedule career counseling appointments with the staff or just go in to use their resources. They offer free diagnostic testing for UC Berkeley students like the Myers Briggs personality test and other career-oriented tests. Analyzing the way your mind works and the way you best interact with others can be a helpful first step to steer your career exploration in the right direction.
Once you have an idea of the type of work you think you’re interested in, checking out the Career Center (or their website https://career.berkeley.edu/
Info/Students ) is the next step. The Career Center staff offers advice on resumes and interview skills (including mock interviews!) and have an arsenal of websites and forums to find internship listings. They strongly recommend using Handshake, an online profile much like LinkedIn but specifically for Berkeley students and alumni to connect businesses and organizations with potential employees and interns.
The Career Center also facilitates Externships, or brief job-shadowing opportunities. Externships allow Berkeley students to link up with alumni working in their field of interest for a week-and-a-half long shadow period during winter break. The application just recently opened up on October 11th and will be available until October 28th— now’s the time to apply!
Many students also find out about internship opportunities through their major departments or professors. Being on your major department’s email list can be a very effective way of finding out about internship opportunities that are relevant to your major.
Best of luck to everyone & remember how many unique resources are at your fingertips as a UC Berkeley student