Home / Categories / Cool Stuff / How To Find An Internship

How To Find An Internship

April 5th, 2013 - 9:43 AM

I need an internship – how do I find one?

An internship is a great way to gain real-life experience before committing to a certain field of study. Take it from someone who has had several internships – the experience you gain can really help in the “real world!” Whether you’re a student, college grad, or just looking for a career change, I’ve got some great info, advice, and tips on how to find an internship. Let’s take a look.

Where to find internships

  • Internmatch.com and internship.com are good places to start searching for internships. Just enter in your desired field and location to begin your search.
  • Check the career services website at your college. It’s likely they will have a link to local, regional, and national internships available to you.
  • Ask teachers, friends, family, alumni, or previous employers for leads on internships. Sometimes, it’s not about who you know, but who someone else knows.
  • Visit a company or organization’s website to see if they have opportunities available. For example, if you’re looking for something in public relations, then look at internships on the Public Relations Student Society of America organization’s website.
  • Start cold calling. It doesn’t hurt to call and ask if an internship program is available. The worst they can say is “no,” so it definitely doesn’t hurt to try. Sometimes, the person you’re talking to will request you send over a resume and/or cover letter, so be sure to have one or both ready to go!
  • If your college hosts a career fair, go to it. Oftentimes, recruiters will not only be looking for full-time employees but interns, too.

Questions to ask yourself before you become an intern

  • What am I interested in? Your internship can help define what career path you take, so choose one that aligns with your interests, especially if you’re looking for a career change. Are you interested in math and teaching? Then consider interning as a math teacher’s aide. If you have multiple career interests, consider multiple internships to narrow down what you really want to do.
  • What do I want to gain from my internship? It could be a number of things, like getting that real world experience, learning new skills, networking, or making your resume look its very best.
  • Where do I want to intern? Internships come in all shapes and sizes, from large corporations, non-profit organizations, and small, hometown businesses. Consider the size of the company, culture, and who manages it.
  • When do I want to start my internship? Are you looking for summer internships, interning during the semester, or are you pretty flexible and can intern at any time?
  • Am I willing to relocate? Sometimes, you might have to relocate to get the experience you want. A town with a small population will have much less opportunity for internships than a mega-city like New York or Chicago. Decide whether you’re physically, emotionally, and financially ready to leave home for an internship. To find internships overseas, go to GoAbroad.com.
  • Am I okay with a non-paid internship? Most internships these days are non-paying. With that being said, you’ll need to decide if you can afford to work without pay. If you are lucky enough to find a paid internship, be sure to put in the extra effort to show your superior that you’re worth the money.
  • Can I get college credit? Check with your college to see if you can get credit for your internship.

Keep reading for more tips on how to find an internship!

Tips for finding an internship

  • Begin looking early for internships. I suggest looking at least two semesters in advance.
  • As soon as you get a lead on an internship, take immediate action and send your materials (resume, cover letter, portfolio, etc.) right away. This will show that you are a serious candidate.
  • Prepare for the interview by researching the company or organization’s website. Look at their mission statement, services/products, and company history.
  • Ask about what you’ll be doing as an intern. Say something like “What does an intern’s typical day look like at your company?”
  • Always send a thank you note before and after an interview. I suggest sending one when you are offered the interview and after you interview for the internship.
  • Create a professional email address so that recruiters take you seriously. In addition, change your voicemail on your phone to sound more professional.
  • Avoid organizations requiring you to pay a fee to find an internship, or organizations that will place you in an internship if you attend so many workshops or classes. These types of organizations most likely will not have your best interest in mind.
  • If you’re a recent college grad, begin planning for your internship just as you would a permanent job.
  • Polish your skills by having friends proof your resume and cover letter. Your college’s Career Center should be able to do this, too. Study up on interviewing strategies and best practices (like arriving early).
  • Always follow-up. Be persistent, not annoying. A phone call or an email following up after your interview is a great way to show the company that you’re very interested.
  • Internships for high school students are available. I suggest looking locally for opportunities related to the field you want to study in college.
  • If you can’t find an official internship, I suggest volunteering or working at places where you can gain experience that’s transferrable to the workplace. For example, if you’re good at social media marketing, then volunteer at the local food bank and manage their social media sites to get more people to donate to the cause. Or, work at a retail store and post photos of their inventory.
  • Clean up your social media profiles. These days, recruiters are searching online to see what you are really like. Remove photos, videos, or posts that could give the wrong impression of who you are.
  • If you are denied the first time, don’t give up! Reapply again the next year. Be sure to evaluate why you didn’t get it and what you could do to improve your chances of getting it the next time. This may simply mean diversifying your course experience, better networking, or taking on leadership roles during college.
  • If you’re willing to relocate for an internship, then consider moving with U-Pack, a “you pack, they drive” long distance moving service with rates competitive with renting a truck. Get a free moving quote here and see how you can save.

Do you have tips or advice for how to find an internship to add to the post? Leave a comment and let me know below!