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Managing your time in college can land you a dream internship

By Nicole Pajer     Jan 17, 2014 in Business
College is the first step towards an exciting future as a working professional. While making the jump into the workforce requires earning good grades in classes, students should also graduate with some real world experience.
One of the best ways to do this is to get a job or internship that will help you to prepare for the road ahead. Doing so will require some additional effort on your part. In order to secure an opportunity like this, you’ll need to use your time outside of academics wisely to develop the skills you’ll need in your future career.
Each year, companies from across the nation visit college campuses in the hopes of recruiting students to fill their diverse array of internship programs. Among these companies is College Works Painting who employs students to run their own painting business -- handling everything from marketing to hiring crews of painters and negotiating contracts with customers. Another popular internship program that visits campuses to recruit college students, is the Disney internship. This program gives students hands on experience in marketing, management, and human resources. Participants will be given the opportunity to manage a facet of one of Disney’s many theme parks and learn about how the company works as a whole. These two programs are just a few examples of the many types of internship experiences that help prep students for the real world.
Students who complete an internship like the ones offered by College Works Painters or Disney find themselves outfitted with a vast array of skills to include on their resumes. These jobs give them experience with multiple facets of the business world, including human resources, management, finance, and accounting. Completing an internship program like one of these comes with a slew of benefits. Landing a prestigious internship can be very competitive. So how do you go about getting an internship while in college? By managing your time effectively. Here are some tips on how to balance college academics, a social life, and finding an internship:
1. Eliminate “time sucks”: According to Laura Stack, author of What to Do When There’s Too Much to Do, one of the best ways to be productive is to eliminate “time sucks.” Stack recommends keeping track of your day and noting what activities are eating up a lot of your free time. Start with things like television, social media, and video games. Cutting down on the amount of time you spend on these will free up hours in your day.
2. Plan ahead: It’s a good idea to start out your day by making a list of the things that you’d like to accomplish. A good rule of thumb is to abide by the Sticky Note Rule: fill one side of a sticky note with the essential tasks that you’d like to complete for the day. By limiting your To Do list to one sticky note, you’ll likely list only the most important tasks that need to be done -- like prepping your resume to be sent out to employers.
3. Make time to network: According to a survey conducted by Right Management, a division of Milwaukee-based staffing company Manpower Group, networking is still the number one way for candidates to land jobs. Take time out of your day to network. Email or call friends and family members who work for various companies. Ask around to see if their workplaces are hiring interns. Talk to students who have interned with a company in the past. Ask them about their experiences and see if they can refer you to their supervisors. Many companies with internship programs have a section of their website dedicated specifically to their internship programs. If you want to apply for an internship at College Works Painting, for example, see if you can find any helpful reviews from past students who have completed the program. Companies will often list these on their web pages.
4. Allow flexibility in your schedule: When scheduling your days/weeks, leave in a few hours to account for things that may pop up, like studying for last-minute exams, your roommate’s surprise party, or a campus activity that you just found out about. By leaving a few free hours a week, you’ll be able to play with your schedule in order to accommodate unexpected changes.
5. Reward your efforts: Set goals and treat yourself once they are accomplished. When looking for an internship, for example, aim to apply to three jobs a week. Once you do this, buy a pizza and invite over some buddies or pick up that new video game that you’ve had your eye on and give it a whirl. Regardless of your age, a reward is a great incentive for getting something done.
College can be hectic. Between schoolwork and a social life, the idea of searching for an internship may seem extremely daunting. Once you’ve mastered the skills above, however, you’ll find that you’ve freed up more hours in the day, which will open up quality time for job searching.
Landing a solid internship isn’t an easy feat -- but the real world experience you’ll obtain will stick with you, and serve you, for a lifetime.
More about College, Internship, time management, Networking, Resume
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