As a student, you’re used to hitting the books, but with more people than ever pursuing higher education you need to show future employers that you understand the practical application of taxes, not just the theories behind them. By interning, you will gain valuable work experience while making professional contacts that could last your entire career.
Finding an Internship:
Obviously, before you can have an internship you have to find one. There are several avenues to pursue.
Check with your career office. Many companies post their available internships on campuses. Make sure you remember to apply early, since it is likely that many other students will also be applying, especially at the end of the school year.
Ask your tax professors. Often they have professional contacts or know of internships that may not be posted. Mentors can also help guide you to internship opportunities.
Search online job boards and postings on company websites.
Contact local companies, accounting firms, or law firms and ask if they have internship opportunities.
Use any network connections you have, including professionals you know, student groups, or local professional organizations.
When considering internship opportunities, determine whether or not they are paid and if they are eligible for course credit at your school. While being paid for your time or receiving course credit are preferable, ultimately internships are about gaining valuable work experience that will bolster your resume, make you more prepared for your career and possibly even lead directly to a job. With that in mind, if the only internship available is an unpaid one, it will still be worth your while.
Getting an Internship:
If you do find an internship being offered, you must apply to it like you would apply to a job. You must be persistent and demonstrate how much you want the internship and how hard you are willing to work for it. If you are passionate about interning for a specific company that is not openly offering an internship, offer to work for them for free and find a way to contact the head of the tax department directly rather than someone in HR in order to gain a personal connection within the company or firm.
Do not be discouraged if you do not succeed right off the bat.
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There are many students applying for a limited number of internships. The key is persistence: be passionate and do not give up!
Making the Most of Your Internship:
Even though you may not have years of experience, you can still actively contribute to a company as an intern. The most important things are to be hardworking and intellectually curious. You want to take advantage of all the opportunities an internship offers. Ask questions. Listen. Volunteer to help. Learn as much as you can and get to know as many people as you can in order to gain valuable experience and connections.
Make sure you are professional at all times. This means being punctual, polite, and respectful of others in the workplace. When you are finishing your internship, your colleagues will be the ones evaluating your performance and hopefully providing references for you when you apply for a job. A particularly successful internship can even lead to a job if the company was happy with your work and has a position to fill
Finally, make sure to express your gratitude towards the company or people who gave you the internship. Doing this, even if you are not offered a job after the internship, will help build your reputation which is a valuable resource in and of itself.
Remember – you may not be offered a full-time job from your internship, but you will have gained valuable experience and connections that will help you find your dream job!