This semester, I am interning in the Erie office of U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (PA-16). In this internship, I am handling tasks from answering office calls to working on casework for constituents, all the while receiving academic credit for it.
Thus far, I can say it was the right internship for me. I’ve begun to get a grasp on the inner workings of the federal bureaucracy and begun to gain insight into the type of concerns and complaints constituents call a congressional office about on a daily basis.
One of the things that we both dread and love about college is internships – we can’t wait to find the one that’s right for us, but also fear not finding one that either makes us happy or sets us up for a direct path into our chosen career field.
We can also be very picky about what incentives we want from the internship – either we want to be paid, get academic credit or both! When looking for an internship, it’s imperative to understand why you want this and how it can be used to boost your resume.
Internships are a chance to gain insight into how your career field works, and they truly tell you if this is the path you should be pursuing.
One of the best things you can do in your search for an internship is talk to a trusted professor about ideas or possibilities; there’s a reason they teach you. They know from their years of working with students what will help set you on the right path.
Next, of course, is reaching out; it can be daunting at first, but it’s an essential part of getting your foot in the door. Making the first move and showing interest increases your chances of getting that internship and making a good first impression.
If you do land the internship you desire, my one major piece of advice would be to take advantage of it. Even if it’s squeezed into your semester schedule like mine is, even though you may walk in to it some days and be tired, it’s important to remind yourself it’s only for a limited time.
So, it’s critical to take advantage of every minute you are there.
Don’t be afraid to go the extra mile; if you can afford it, stay a little extra to finish the project you’re working on, ask if anything more can be done, and make yourself as available as possible. For even if there’s nothing more to be accomplished, your supervisor will recognize your efforts to be a hard worker, and that will pay off down the road.
Internships can be an amazing experience; they can do so much for you in such a short amount of time. For anyone reading, if you take nothing else away from this, take this: pursue your dreams and let your internship be the start.