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How To Land The Perfect Paralegal Internship
Taking classes to earn your degree in paralegal studies gives you the information and knowledge you will need when entering the workforce after graduation. That knowledge base is important, but prospective employers also want to know that you understand what working as a paralegal entails. Completing an internship for a local law firm or corporate legal department while you are in college can give you hands-on experience that’s hard to duplicate in the classroom.
Why Are Paralegal Internships Important?
Internships benefit paralegal students in many ways:
- Grow your network. When you are working alongside legal professionals during your internship, you will come into contact with seasoned attorneys, paralegals and other business professionals. You’ll have an opportunity to prove yourself through your work, making a positive impression on these career pros. These connections can be invaluable when beginning your search for a paralegal role after graduation.
- Build your resume. While much of the work interns do is not glamorous, you will likely gain on-the-job experience handling files and records, helping prepare and distribute correspondence, doing data entry, and other mundane tasks. As you hone your skills in these types of administrative matters, you will also likely be exposed to more substantive paralegal tasks. All of this hands-on work experience can help bolster your resume.
- Try out the work environment. For some paralegal studies programs, internships provide a valuable opportunity to find out whether they enjoy working in a particular environment or in certain legal practice areas. You may have an internship in a traditional criminal defense law firm and find you thrive in that environment. Conversely, you may not enjoy the experience, which can help you narrow options for working after graduation.
Tips to Improve Your Chances of Landing the Perfect Internship
Nearly any paralegal internship is likely to benefit you. However, to boost your chances of landing in a highly competitive firm, do the following:
- Work on your resume and cover letter.Remember that the resume, cover letter and other application materials you submit give potential employers their first impression of you. As cliche as the saying is, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. If your college offers career services support, take advantage of assistance with developing and polishing your resume and drafting compelling cover letters that highlight why you should be chosen for the internship you want.
- Ask for recommendations. Ask your favorite professors to write letters of recommendation for you. If you know practicing attorneys or paralegals in your community, you may also ask them to provide recommendations to support your internship application. Even if not required as part of your application package, these extras can help you stand out from the competition.
- Practice your interview skills. Interviewing is not easy. Ask trusted friends, family members or fellow students to help you conduct mock interviews to prepare. Doing this can give you more confidence when you get to the interview, so you can focus on demonstrating your qualifications for the role without nerves getting the best of you.
Choose a Paralegal Education Program That Values Internships
Taking deliberate steps to land a paralegal internship — and striving to maximize that internship — could lead to experience and connections that can have long-lasting benefits in your new career. At MacCormac College in Chicago, we understand the importance of completing paralegal internships. We encourage students in our Paralegal Studies Associate of Science degree program to pursue such opportunities for hands-on learning in the community.
For further information about our degree programs and approach to learning, and to start planning your future career now, contact us today.