Job experience matters and recent graduates and entry-level candidates are expected to have some relevant job experience before applying for a full-time position. In many cases, this experience comes in the form of an internship. But, do you know how to find an internship?
Finding an internship is easier than you may think if you’re willing to do the work. Here’s how:
Use Your Existing Contacts To Network, Network, Network
Talk to professors, friends, career services, friends of the family, and whoever will sit still long enough to hear you talk about your career aspirations. We’re all connected somehow and you never know who might have a contact in your career field of choice.
Use Online Resources To Find An Internship
Many organizations list their intern needs on their websites and social media sites. Make a list of companies in your desired career field and then visit their pages every few weeks. If you don’t see anything listed, you can send an e-mail to their recruiting contact and ask if they will have an internship program available in the near future. Some companies may not have a formal internship program, but would be willing to add a few interns to supplement their full-time staff.
There are a number of online job boards that cater to internships. It’s worth looking at these sites to get ideas of which companies are hiring multiple interns and in which geographic locations.
Be Ready To Sell Yourself
In some cases, organizations have never had an intern before and aren’t quite sure how this would benefit their company. Create a pitch for why the organization should hire you as an intern and what value you could bring. This may include cutting edge skills that you’ve learned in your classes, inexpensive or free labor and a variety of other knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Some internships are in other cities and other countries. Some internships are unpaid. If you’re in a position to travel for a summer or work for free (or a reduced rate), you may be more attractive to a prospective employer. Plus, if an internship goes well, you get the benefit of listing it on your resume and using your manager as a reference. The monetary value of that can’t easily be calculated, but it’s probably more than a paycheck or two. There’s always a chance that an unpaid internship could lead to a future paid internship, part-time job or even a full-time opportunity in the future.
If you’re not financially able to work for free, consider taking the unpaid internship as a part-time job for the valuable experience and finding another paid opportunity that might not be as closely aligned to your career field to make some much-needed cash.
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