With the need for innovation in construction for safety, environmental, and progressive reasons many students are encouraged to pursue engineering as a profession. This pursuit will take a lot of hard work, and at some point students need to find a place to practice their engineering skills through an internship.
Do well in your program
Among the first things to do in order to get a good engineering internship is to do as well as you can in your engineering program. The better your grades, the more realistic options you will have when you want to start interning. Also, it is a good idea to make a good impression on your engineering professors so that you can get them to feel comfortable writing you a recommendation, especially if you want to intern at a good company.
Utilize your college career center
College career centers have a lot of information about all different types of internships, in engineering and other fields. It is never too soon to start looking at the literature available at the center and take notes on what you find appealing. Talk to engineering professors and other students who are also studying the same specialty of engineering as you are.
At the career center, you will likely find a list of companies that regularly hire interns. Make a list of several that appeal to you and that specialize in the area of engineering that you study. Make note of their requirements and work to make sure you fulfill them.
Research companies on your own
While the career center will give you a good jumping off point to your internship search, it doesn’t end there. Look closely at companies that have piqued your interest, starting with their own website, but it is also a good idea to seek out impartial reviews of both the company and the products they manufacture.
Prioritize the characteristics that are important to you such as geographic location, company reputation, or company size. While you will want to find something you prefer, remember to be flexible as well and think outside the box. Large companies may seem like the best option because their salaries and benefits are often better than non-profits or small businesses, but working or volunteering for smaller and less prestigious companies can help you build your own integrity and personal brand.
Network and Show Your Stuff
No matter how cool your bio-engineering professor was, it is important that he is not the only person you know. Even though there is a demand for engineers, companies big or small usually like to hire someone they know — or think they know. Keep your email professional. Use your given name rather than a nickname that might sound childish. Utilize social networking responsibly, such as Linked In, Facebook and Twitter and use a nice picture of yourself as your profile picture, weed out any inappropriate pictures entirely. Follow and “like” things appropriately, join groups that reflect your professional interests and participate in discussions when possible. Take samples of your best projects and put them online through a personal website or YouTube video.
Networking can be done offline too. Meetup.com has listings of groups that meet in person that you can search by geographic location and interest. Several engineering services associations have student memberships available at a low cost, by joining these and actively participating you may be given a heads up on an opportunity before it is released to the general public.
This article was written by Jeff Shjarback. Jeff Shjarback, MBA is an internet marketing consultant in Charlotte, NC. He specializes in online marketing strategy, design, search marketing, PPC, lead generation and branding.