When I began college, I was just like almost every other 18 year old. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I “grow up”. I think I changed my mind almost every week! I knew I had a passion for agriculture, but the career paths were limitless. For that, I turned to internships.
Looking back on the last couple years, I am so thankful for the opportunity to complete three internships. They each taught me what I liked, didn’t like and what I could see myself doing.
The process of finding and applying for an internship can be time consuming. I would find myself spending hours on applying for internships and then having to finish my homework on top of that.
Even though the process can take some time, it is worth it! From each application and interview, I have learned some tips to getting an internship.
The top five key things that I learned about the internship process include:
1. Create, Revise & Review – An organized, updated resume is necessary when applying for any internship. Make sure to show a well-rounded background and how YOU can benefit the company by interning there. Make sure that each resume submitted is catered toward the position. Only use relevant information and be creative! It is better to stand out.
2. Be Yourself! – It is important to show your personality, character and passion for agriculture. Your passion for agriculture can have just as much impact as experience.
3. Go Outside The Box – If you find an internship that looks challenging or might introduce you to something new, apply! You will never know what is right for you unless you try it.
4. Use Connections – If you know of someone in the agriculture industry, make sure to pass on your resume and ask them to keep an eye out for potential internships. They may have “inside” information and can help get your name out there. I also have generic business cards with my contact and academic information. These have definitely come in handy to have in my purse!
5. Don’t Give Up! – Even if you don’t get the first internship you apply for, try again. I don’t know how many internships I have applied for but it took me awhile to get the first one. There is an internship out there for you and you shouldn’t give up until you find it! A great website for finding internships is Ag Careers
Once you land that internship it is important to do your absolute best. The company, supervisor and connections you make will benefit you in the future.
Here are my top five keys to success during an internship:
1. Give It Your All – I’ve always been told that every day should be treated like a job interview. Ask questions or for clarification if you don’t understand what you are being asked to do.
2. Be Assertive – If there is something that you want to learn more about or experience during your internship, don’t be afraid to ask! This is a great time to gain more exposure to various positions in agriculture.
4. Embrace the Experience – Take a moment to enjoy the experience. Remember that there are things you will see or do that not everyone has had the opportunity to do. This past summer, I was fortunate to work right next to the Minnesota State Capitol. I made sure to take pictures and even went on a personal tour. I will never forget seeing this view everyday!
5. Network, Network, Network – I’m not sure I can emphasize this enough! Every person you meet during your internship is important! Make an effort to connect and exchange contact information. When I was finishing up my second internship, I received an email from an individual that I met at a conference and she was looking for an intern and asked if I’d be interested.
It is about your network and WHO you know.
It has been such a great journey trying to find my career path. Each opportunity and person that I’ve met has brought me closer to where I want to be. With that, I am excited to begin my new journey with writing and advocacy through the eyes of a college agriculture student!