/ Asked by Tyler
I am working towards a degree in Management Information Systems. When do you feel it is appropriate to begin an internship or a part-time job in a related field? I feel that when I apply to internships or jobs in my field, employers do not see enough academic or work-related experience and I miss an opportunity to grow.
Answered by Susan, Hiring Expert at Praxair, Inc., on Monday, September 30, 2013
Most often this is in your sophmore/junior years/summers but can be earlier.  I say the earlier the better.

If you have received direct feedback that you do not have the experience they are looking for, have you determined in what year of school you will then have obtained this "experience"?  That maybe will tell you when you should be looking for these opportunities.

Here's another suggestion:  Many times you can accept a role which may not quite be what you are looking for but and once you are in it, you can network through the company to find assignments/projects in the MIS area where you can test your skills, and build respect for your contributions. Then, the next year when an internship in the information technology department opens, it may easily come knocking on your door. 

Some other thoughts are:
-You could also try working in the MIS lab/department at your school to gain experience; speak with your Professor about alternatives. 
-Get a part time job in some of the retail company "geek squads" where they help customers set up or fix problems with their computers
-Find small, independently owned family companies who need IT support but not on a full time basis. Explore your parent's network and Professor's.  For example, my brother owns his own company but it's not large enough to hire a full time IT person, but he has employed some people over time to do special IT projects he needs help with.  Basically you would be acting as a consultant in this area, but nonetheless gaining valuable experience.
Answered by Kit, Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., on Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Great question! Anytime there’s a internship opportunity, apply for it. You are correct, most companies will have minimum requirements to be considered however exceptions are made at times depending on the role and need. In addition to academic and work-related experience, we evaluate the level of activities and engagement on/off-campus as well. Actively apply for the opportunity and let others know that you are looking. Use your connections and references to get your resume in front of the recruiters/hiring manager because that might increase your chance for success. Good luck!
Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on Friday, October 4, 2013
It is typical to begin searching for internships during or after your sophomore year in college.  This would give you two internships to place on your resume when you begin your search for full-time employment, assuming you do not go on to grad school.  When searching for internships, companies are typically looking at the types of projects on which you have worked, your community involvement, your GPA (usually, 2.8 or higher is required), and your communication skills.  Regarding the first three items, it is important to clearly display these on your resume.  Your communication skills are demonstrated in every interaction you have with a prospective employer, including cover letters and resumes.  Strong written communication skills are important, as are verbal communication skills.  When speaking and interacting with prospective employers, it is important to display confidence, but not overconfidence, passion for what you want to do, and a desire to always push yourself to a new level.  
Answered by Siobhan, Hiring Expert at Accenture, on Friday, October 11, 2013
It is never too early to begin! I would recommend utilizing your network of school alumni, family friends, etc. to help facilitate opportunities where you could get business experience that you can add to your resume. You can also consider informational interviews, participating in MIS forums, and self-study opportunities, which you can add to your resume. Most employers understand that a student does not have much relevant experience until the second part of their college career. In the meantime, employers look for you to list out some of your relevant school experience and also show the involvement that you have on campus in clubs, organizations, group projects, part-time work, etc. Best of luck to you as you continue on in school and gain relevant work experience for your career! 
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