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Want to Get Your Foot in the Door? Volunteer as an Intern

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InternshipIf you’re going to school for a four-year degree in public administration, securing an internship is a great way to get your foot in the door for a future career. Internships teach you real-world skills that you will never learn in school. Having an internship or two on your resume will look incredibly attractive when you start your job search and, if you decide to pursue your masters, an internship will look favorable on your application to graduate school.

1. Job Duties

As an intern, you may be asked to assist employees in a variety of daily tasks. You may be assigned to a research project, put in the field or even asked to perform simple office tasks. Internships are generally utilized as extra bodies and placed wherever they will be the most helpful to the company or organization. Most interns perform a wide variety of tasks which is a great way to pick up job experiences and skills that you can use in the future.

2. Benefits

An internship will benefit you both personally and professionally. You’ll be able to get an inside view of what a career in the public administration field will be like. You will also be able to get a better feel for the type of work that you want to do within the field. Professionally, an internship will be a wonderful addition to your resume.

When given the choice, employers are more apt to hire someone that has at least some experience in the field over someone who has none.

3. Companies that Use Interns

There are hundreds of companies and organizations that utilize interns. Applying with one of these companies for your internship will almost guarantee a spot if openings exist. Some of these organizations include the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

4. Payment

Because you typically aren’t paid for an internship, you’ve got to make sure that you will benefit from the experience. Some internship positions do offer a small stipend, but this money is often not enough to use to support yourself. Even though you won’t be paid, the experience you gain can be profitable in the future if it helps you meet your goals.

5. Build Your Contact List

Working as an intern gives you an opportunity to network and build your contact list.

If you come into contact with professionals who you feel may be able to help you in the future, don’t hesitate to ask for their contact information. These people could help you get a job, help you narrow down your choices or even act as mentors as you begin your career. When building your list, make sure that you write a few notes about the person that will help you remember who they are in the future and how you thought they could help you.

An internship can be a lot of hard work for a very small immediate reward. Although this is often the case, you must consider how an internship will benefit you in your future career. By interning with a great organization, you will gain valuable experience, skills and contacts that can help you meet your career goals.

Lydia Cindak is a full-time writer for higher ed blogs and journals nationwide with a focus on online education opportunities. Several schools offer online degrees to help advance your career, including onlinempa.usfca.edu and www.northwestern.edu.

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