Most college multimedia programs require at least one semester of supervised field experience or internship. These work related opportunities place an individual in a company setting where they are given assignments directly related to an area of study or career interest.
An internship is usually part-time and last for the length of an academic term or semester.
There are other internships which may be half time, or full time. Some pay a stipend to help with travel costs and housing. Some provide a modest income but rarely offer medical or retirement benefits.
Both paid or unpaid internships can provide one with excellent opportunities to gain career-related work experience.
Some basic values of an internship include:
- Gaining experience by applying your knowledge and skills in work related situations. You'll learn what you can do and what you need to work on in your studies. You'll gain confidence in your own abilities.
- Gaining the practical real work experience that employers like to to see on a job candidate's resume.
- Clarifying your career goals with professionals helps you make a decision if the field is for you or not.
- Expanding your knowledge by seeing how others problem solve.
- Establishing a network of contacts, mentors, and references that will be of value for future letters and support.
Although there is no obligation for a company to later hire an intern as a full-time employee there are those situations where this happens. The internship becomes a pre-recruiting tool that allows an employer to see how well an individual fits into the culture of the company. Past interns provide an excellent pool of potential candidates from which to choose when a job position opens.
Care must be taken in arranging an internship. It is best, when arranging for a credit based internship to work with a college advisor or supervisor. Locating a field experience that will facilitate your personal growth takes time and a good advisor can help.
There are some companies who like to have an extra person around to sort the mail, fix coffee, and run errands. However, these types of experiences do little to engage one in the application of their skills. A good internship will encourage you to stretch yourself by expanding your knowledge and applying your skills.
Here are common tips for a successful internship
- Have a clear understanding of what is expected of you. An internship for academic credit should have specific learning objectives. You are not there to make coffee - you are there to learn and develop professional expertise. A written work plan is often helpful.
- In a credit-based internship at least 50% of your time should be spent in learning and shadowing a professional in the organization.
- Keep track of your time. It's important to understand the value of your time and effort. The relationship between work, time, and pay is rarely understood by students. A record of your time will help you think about how long it takes to develop a project as well as the value of your efforts.
- Be attentive. Listen, ask questions, be engaged in your internship. If you slack off in your classes you'll soon learn you can't do the same during an internship. An internship is a place to develop your communication and interpersonal skills.
- You are working in an adult environment. Strive to achieve work habits that employers seek. Learn how to work with others
- Respond to requests for input. Sometimes an internship will offer you the opportunity to contribute to the design and development of a project. Give careful attention to the request and place your best ideas on the table when asked
- Some very basic things to keep in mind but are often overlooked by student interns: (1) Be on time. (2) Dress appropriately for the work setting, (3) Don't complain about others - avoid the human habit of gossiping. (4) Thank your boss when appropriate for his/her guidance and assistance. You are taking a bosses time and if he/she is welling to help you, be appreciative of the effort.
- Take advantage of an internship experience to learn as much as possible about how an organization functions. Try to understand the culture in which you are interning.
Today's job market is very competitive. Individuals who have completed one or more internships during there academic study are more likely to fit-in to the world of work. They know something of the media business and have knowledge of employer expectations. Being able to list work experience on a resume helps one get their foot in the door when applying for a job position in the future.
A final thought. If you graduate and are unable to find employment within a few months, you might think about undertaking another internship.
Many companies offer internship opportunities that are not related to college or university study. These are often provide a unique avenue for being in an environment in which you would like to work and if you demonstrate your skills and abilities you become someone of interest with a position opens. These often pay enough to cover basics while you learn new skills.
The following are examples of Internships one can find in a variety of areas:
Mayo Clinic Internship in Video Production and Post production.
"This internship provides a learning experience during which interns participate in all aspects of video production and Post production. During this program they have an opportunity to enhance skills while working under the direction of a mentor within the Division of Media Support Services."
Interlock Media Production Assistant Internship. "A Production Assistant Intern participates in all aspects of film and media production, including: *research *writing *coordination of crews *participation in shoots *participation in film editing *script writing *production of print materials *any task that may arise."
Henninger Video and Graphic Design Internship." A number of internships are offered providing valuable experience in Production, Post-Production, Graphic Design, Media Management, and Marketing & Business Development. These positions are filled by creative, motivated, willing and energetic students from a variety of majors who lend their time—a minimum of 16 hours per week—and effort in exchange for an engaging, fulfilling, educational and rewarding experience."
JPL Productions - Harrisburg, PA. For over a decade, JPL Productions has been providing students with the opportunity to get their "feet wet" in all aspects of media creation. This company offers a wide range of internship opportunities.
NBC News Internships. "New Media’s interns experience the daily operations of a major multimedia department on a first hand basis. They get to use their artistic talents to create innovative web designs, on-air graphics, presentations, animations, video projects, DVD's and much more. They also learn how to optimize their work for a cross platform environment including both the Apple and Windows operating systems."