Summer is half over. Have you done everything you can to get the most out of your internship or work experience? If you can’t answer that question with a resounding “YES,” here are some ideas to assure you end your experience in a way that fully maximizes the opportunity. Your employer will organize your work and get you up to speed on your job and the organization, but it is up to you to take the appropriate initiative to get as much out of your work experience as possible.
Communicate your reason for choosing your current work experience to your supervisor, mentors and others. Talk with them about what you hope to get out of it, how you hope to grow and how that connects to your career goals. This conversation is critical to their ability to help you achieve those goals and give you feedback on your growth along the way.
Not sure you can communicate this in a concise way? Take a few minutes to define the objective of your experience. If you were to write a mission statement for your time in the experience, what would it say? Conduct a SWOT analysis to help you think through this process.
Trust me, I know the nine months out of the year spent frantically fighting exhaustion while keeping up with classwork, extracurriculars, and attempting to have a social life make summer seem like a relaxing breath of fresh air. But if your goal is to actually be prepared for a full-time career, you might want to rethink spending your free time hanging by pool and eating popsicles. While I still encourage some fun in the sun, career preparation shouldn’t stop simply because the weather’s warmer. Internships are a crucial part in giving you a step up on the job hunt ladder after graduation. Here’s why you need an internship:
When employers see an internship (or multiple) on your resume, it counts as a big gold star in your favor. Not only do they show your initiative and drive to succeed, but internships give you hands-on experience in your field of study. You will undoubtedly be forced to apply classroom knowledge to real-world situations, just like a full-time position. As a bonus, these real-world experiences will make for great supporting arguments while responding to questions in an interview!
Process of Elimination
When asked why internships are important, Bonnie Johnson, AgCareers.com Marketing Associate, responded, “What do you really want to do after you graduate? Agricultural interns tell us that one of the top reasons they take internships is to develop insight into what they might want to do for a full-time career after graduation. You may have your heart set on working on a farm, or alternatively in an office– try both! It’s important to vary your internship experiences to determine the best fit for you.” You need an internship to give you the experience you need to make an educated choice while finding your perfect career.
Every internship has its challenges. Luckily mine had nothing to do with the people or the culture of the company, just adapting to the indoor work environment. Last summer I spent 32 hours a week walking through fields, seven hours driving my pickup between locations and two hours in the office working on reports. This summer I have spent majority of my work hours behind two computer screens and only make it outside for my walk during my lunch break. Both extremes from my internships have taught me what paths I would like to take for my future career. Reflecting on my experiences, I have more to share. Here are some tips for internship success I have learned along the way:
• If you don’t like business professional and would rather wear jeans to work – then you need to search for an internship with that type of company culture. Don’t be afraid to ask about the company’s work attire and culture in an interview!
Every college student knows how difficult it can be trying to maintain good grades, a social life, and a job. However, there are some serious benefits to juggling those challenging tasks, especially when one of those tasks is interning. Employers want to see that you can balance several different aspects of life at once and it also gives you the sense of how much you can really handle. Here’s why it may be beneficial to intern during the school year:
Interning during the school year helps keep a balance between work and school. Let’s be honest, when you only have one class at 9 am it can be hard to get up and get going but knowing you must go to campus because you have to work afterwards, helps motivate you!
Maybe you go home to help on the farm or want to spend a summer traveling abroad. But if you get stuck in a college town during the school year, check into interning for a company or organization in your area. There is nothing wrong with keeping your summer free to work back home and finding an internship for the fall or spring semester.
Planning to do an internship? You’ve probably heard some things over the years that might deter you. But to be honest, there’s probably not a lot of truth to those rumors. Check out these intern myth busts to get the real story.
Intern Myth #1: Interns do the grunt work.
Not all interns are just coffee runners like you might see in the movies. Most interns will take on numerous large projects to complete by the end of their internship. As well as advancing their career skills in several different areas.
Intern Myth #2: Internships are only in the summer.
If you are someone who has a hard time committing your warm summer days off of school to a job, then a summer internship may not be in your best interest. And it doesn’t have to be! Internships can take place during the spring and fall as well. The only downfall is that your internship might have to be limited to the hours between school and other commitments. Some students even take a semester off and work a full-time internship during the school year.
Kate Boeckenstedt joins the AgCareers.com office in Ames, Iowa this summer as our Marketing Intern. Kate just completed her junior year at Iowa State University as an Agricultural Education major with the Communications option. Last summer, Kate worked as a Crop Scout for AgVantage FS in Alburnett, Iowa.
What will you be doing this summer with AgCareers.com?
I’ll be in charge of the student success kit we’re working on as well as the Internship Benchmark Survey. Organizing some pages on our website as well as a few special marketing projects will be some other things I’m working on this summer.
What do you enjoy about working with AgCareers.com?
I like the flexibility and getting to know the indoor work environment. I like the opportunity to grow and share my ideas. The research side and blogging has been new to me. I never thought I’d be a blogger.
What advice would you give to job seekers using AgCareers.com for the first time?
Don’t limit yourself to what your major is. There are so many opportunities available on AgCareers.com. Also don’t utilize it just for the job search. There is so much available to enhance your career skills too.
Working toward securing an internship? If you’ve done this before, you know that you likely won’t get an internship without going through some sort of interview. Whether that is a phone interview, video interview or an in-person interview, being prepared to answer some of the most common intern interview questions can get you to the next step. Here are my five favorite interview questions for interns and what I’m hoping to learn from the candidate when asking them.
1. Tell me about yourself.
Doesn’t every interview usually start with this? The response to this question sets the stage. Unfortunately, most interviewers know within a matter of minutes if a candidate is going to work out or not, so make sure to pay attention to this question. You don’t want the response scripted but you can have a pretty good outline to follow. Keep the response concise – two minutes or so. Don’t regurgitate your resume, but rather highlight the things from it that make you a good fit for the role. Tell why you are excited about the position and sell yourself as the best candidate!
As you start your summer internship, have you thought about what to ask your supervisor? Here are five questions to ask during your internship:
1. Can we talk about expectations?
One of the most important questions to ask during your internship: make sure you understand what your supervisor and coworkers expect from you. However, don’t forget about your personal goals as well. One major point of the internship is to make sure you get the most out of it. Use the experience for personal growth. If you ask this early on, it will help everyone establish a good idea of what all the expectations are so you don’t walk away from the internship down the road with it not meeting any of your own goals.
2. What are some areas I can improve on?
There’s a good chance your employer won’t fault you on your strengths, but will probably notice your weaknesses. Ask how you can improve! By asking your supervisor this, you are showing your willingness to learn. Feedback is the best way to figure out how you are doing as an intern. Being a coachable person makes for a great intern. Willingness to listen from the experts and use their advice to better your skills will not only benefit you now, but also later in life.
Danielle Tucker joins AgCareers.com this summer as our Marketing Intern in Ames, Iowa. She is currently a student at Iowa State University pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and a Master’s of Business Administration.
What will you be working on this summer with AgCareers.com?
I will be working on a few large projects including creating an Ag Major Profile section for the website and putting together reports for companies about what their interns experienced. Also, I will be doing some benchmarking analysis on AgCareers.com to see how well we are serving customer needs. I will be writing articles and blogs about multiple areas in the workplace. I look forward to helping with the Roundtable as well and experiencing it for the first time!
What are you most excited for about this internship?
I’m excited to gain experience in marketing! I recently headed a new direction in school by pursuing a MBA along with my Animal Science major so this internship will allow me to explore areas within the business industry while still being involved in agriculture.
When it comes to preparing for an agriculture career, an internship will definitely help you.
Even the most qualified candidates will face a lot of competition for good jobs, so having an internship under your belt could be the differentiator that kicks off a long and fruitful career.
The U.S. edition of AgCareers.com’s 2015 Agribusiness Job Report shows that the total number of job postings in the U.S. and Canada was up 26%, to 81,000+, compared to the year prior. AgCareers.com received almost 6,800 job postings each month throughout the U.S. and Canada last year. While there are plenty of jobs, there are lots of suitable applicants vying for them.
Consider these statistics from the aforementioned study, for example:
With all of those highly trained people either already in or on the verge of entering the agriculture industry, you can improve your odds of landing a job by doing an internship.
Read on for information that’ll help you answer the question: How important are internships?