By Ashley Tripp, Student at the University of Alabama
During the holidays, most college students spend their time visiting and traveling with their families and friends. Students are given the chance to take a break from their busy semester schedules and relax instead.
This past holiday break, I came to the panicked realization that I was about to graduate in less than five months and that I didn’t know where to turn for jobs and internships.
The process was stressful and at times a bit overwhelming. I realized my security blanket of college was about to be uncovered as I began to focus on what people love to refer to as “the real world.”
I spent hours every day searching and searching. Nothing seemed to spark my interest, let alone meet the job descriptions of a recent grad.
Then it dawned on me to visit a profile site I had signed up for a while ago not knowing what the site was really useful for. As I typed in the search engine, I began to type LinkedIn.com. Instantly, LinkedIn became my best friend for the remainder of my break.
The company’s mission is to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” Did I mention that LinkedIn is free to use? Sounds like a good idea for a college student’s budget, right?
In college, professors always kept reminding me that landing a job or internship is not about how “good” you are at what you do, but about “who you know in the professional field.”
This is where LinkedIn became useful for my job/internship hunting. I began to connect with professors, colleagues, neighbors, teachers and former employers. Those whom I am connected with are allowed to see my profile, which is essentially an online portfolio and resume for potential employers to review.
In addition, LinkedIn provides you with notifications of “jobs you may be interested in” and “people you may know” to connect with. LinkedIn does the searching for you.
Don’t stress if you feel like you are required to have an internship before you graduate in order to land a job right out of college. Focus on school, and if an internship opportunity comes up, don’t be afraid to take that risk.
An internship allows students who want to learn more about the field to gain professional experience.
The benefits of an internship far outweigh any disadvantages because:
– Employers take note of your work habits and could identify you as future employees.
– Students gain the value of work and the function of the work environment.
– Students learn the vital lessons of teamwork as well as independence.
There’s a company out there waiting for you to apply. Don’t miss out on the internship of a lifetime.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net