There will come a point where you either NEED to secure an internship to pass your course. You realize that an internship can make you a competitive and attractive candidate for any job. The process of securing an internship can be confusing. And many people do not know where to start even looking for something! Here are five different ways you can find and secure an internship.
Do your research
Ask yourself. What do I want to get out of an internship? Do I want professional skills? Professional experience? Networks for when I’ve graduated? A better chance at getting into a graduate program? Do I want to be an intern in a specific company? Do I want to be an intern in a small or large company?
Once you’ve chosen what you want your internship to do for you, research some organisations and companies that you think would be a good fit. Look into their internship programs, and see if they have internship schedules. Many companies and organisations only take interns during certain months. If you have a specific company in mind, you might have to wait months before you can apply. And there is no certainty that you’ll be chosen.
Smaller companies might not have an internship program. Prepare your CV and cover letter, and send them an email asking if they take interns. Be specific about your skills, what you’d like to do during your internship, and the length you’d like to intern for.
When choosing an organisation to intern for, remember to think outside the box. Focus on getting what you want from an internship, and try not to dismiss opportunities that might not be exactly what you want.
For example, if you’re studying marketing, you might think you need to intern in a marketing firm. However, being an intern on a marketing team at a small winery. Or an animal rescue centre might help you build valuable professional skills.
Join a networking event
Take a look at the networking events happening in your city. Many are free to visit, and they give you the opportunity to meet professionals across a variety of fields. Even people who do not work in your field can be extremely useful when finding an internship. A professional carpenter may still know that a construction company is looking for an I.T intern. Or a professional counselor might have a friend managing a GP clinic.
Visit a networking event, and talk to as many people as you can. Be creative and look for opportunities. Maybe if you’re studying marketing, you might think you need to do an internship at an marketing firm company. But a great internship could be working in the marketing department at a winery, or in a toy store! Be open to interesting experiences!
Check out your university or college’s career help office, or website.
Many universities and colleges have a career help office. Maybe website or program to help you locate internships, graduate programs or even paid work. Many institutions know which organisations have taken on interns before. Which organisations have hired their graduates, and if there is an application process for becoming an intern.
This can be helpful, as some intern programs may require formal interviews, contracts and references. Your career help office may be able to give you contacts, organize a meeting with someone who can help you. They can also give you advice on how to be interviewed, and where to find references within your industry.
Ask your tutors, lecturers and/or program directors if there is a program that could help you find the internship of your dreams!
Volunteering is not only a fantastic way of getting experience in your field. But it can also open doors to securing an internship! Your fellow volunteers, or volunteer managers may have contacts and networks in organisations that you might want to work within. Or maybe you might be able to secure an internship at the place you volunteer!
For example, you might be studying I.T and volunteering at an animal shelter on the weekend. You might be able to secure an internship working with the animal shelter’s I.T team. Or if they don’t have an I.T team, you might be able to become a volunteer I.T person, and complete your internship by helping to build a website for the shelter.
With internships, the name and reputation of your organisation will positively reflect upon you. Becoming an intern with a well respected organisation. Even if it’s a volunteer organisation, is a fantastic way to kick start your career!
Visit or join a professional networking club (Lions, Rotary)
Rotary International, Rotaract, Lions Clubs International, Apex, Kiwanis, Zonta. These are all “service clubs” that is, a group of people who gather as a club to do projects in the local, and international community. These clubs are often made of professional and retired business people, and professionals from a variety of career backgrounds. These clubs help you network professionally with their members, and can give you plenty of experience to use when securing an internship.
By joining a professional networking club, you will meet people who can give you advice on building a career. Contacts within your career industry, references for internships (and jobs!). And may be able to help you make yourself the best candidate for a role!
Try one or two of these tips (or maybe all five!). You’ll find and secure an internship that will help you become an experienced professional within your field!