How To Get an Internship Suited To Your Career Interests
Updated June 9, 2023
Every job seeker should have some level of experience or knowledge in relation to the position they're seeking—at least from the employer's perspective. Such has always been the challenge of entering new careers—getting that initial experience. One way to gain valuable experience is by getting an internship. The more you understand the value and importance of an internship, the better equipped you'll be to decide if it's the right career move for you.
In this article, we will outline its importance, where to find one and how to land an interview.
Related: How To Find a Summer Internship
Why is it important to get an internship?
Internships are important for a multitude of reasons. They're a great way to gain experience in a particular field, sharpen your skills and earn college credit. If you're considering switching to a different field, internships also allow you to test out a new industry before making a complete career switch. Lastly, internships allow you to network with others in your field which can advance your future career options. Ultimately, internships are an important way to gain valuable experience that can broaden your knowledge, no matter the field.
Related: Definitive Guide To Internships
Where to find internships
In addition to referrals from college campuses and counselors within a given department, some common resources for finding internships include:
1. Internet listings
The internet has a plethora of websites with internship postings. You can use online search engines (like Indeed) when searching for an internship and you can typically narrow those searches by location and industry to find something that suits your needs and interests.
2. Job fairs
Job fairs are a great place to find internship opportunities as they give you the opportunity to meet company representatives and potential hiring managers. Though not as popular as they once were, job fairs remain a great way to make contact with a company and learn of opportunities.
3. Your network
Another great place to come across an internship is simply by word of mouth. Making relevant industry connections or asking those closest to you if they know of any upcoming internships is still sometimes the best way to find new professional opportunities.
4. Social media
Social media has become a way for companies to reach consumers directly. Consider following your favorite companies and checking their profiles periodically for new internship postings. In addition, consider sharing on your own profiles that you're looking for an internship. This could lead to a number of responses from your social media circle.
5. Career centers
Your local career center is a great place to find an internship. Here, they'll be able to tell you of any upcoming opportunities in your area and field any questions about applications and interviews you might have.
6. Company websites
If you already know any companies where you'd ideally hope to work search their websites and head to their careers page. Oftentimes, companies will list any internship openings they have on the careers section of their website. Check back periodically to ensure you don't miss any opportunities.
How to get an internship
Obtaining an internship is much like finding and getting a job. Use the following steps to guide you when trying to get an internship:
1. Determine the type of internship you're seeking
For starters, you'll need to determine what you're looking for in an internship. This could be relevant to your field or perhaps you want to try a different industry. It's also important to consider the length of time you want to spend interning, whether or not you want to intern over the summer, the tasks you'll be doing and the types of companies you want to intern for. Make a list of companies you'd like to work for to help guide your search.
2. Begin your internship search
After you've determined what you want to get out of an interview, begin searching for an internship. Whether you've chosen to find one online, at a job fair or a combination of various methods, put in the effort to find a quality internship where believe you'd gain valuable knowledge. It's important to stay on top of internship opportunities since there will likely be others vying for the same role. Ask others in your industry if they have any leads on new opportunities. This will help you get ahead of any competition.
3. Apply for an internship
Once you've found the right internship, start applying. Begin by creating your resume, asking for references, creating a portfolio if needed and writing a cover letter. When it comes to creating your resume, make sure you list any relevant skills and refer to the job posting to include what they are looking for. It's also important to know when the application deadline is. If you're applying to a number of internships, make sure to tailor your cover letter to each position.
4. Follow up
If it's been two weeks and you haven't heard back from the company, consider reaching out. Call or email the hiring manager and ask whether they need any more materials from you. It could be that they haven't begun looking at applications for the position yet or that they haven't sent out responses.
5. Prepare for the internship interview
Next, make any helpful preparations if you've landed an interview. For starters, you can research the company further to determine its values and mission statement. You can also search for common interview questions for the role and industry and practice interviewing with a family member or friend. Practice and preparation not only give you an idea of what to say, but also help to ease nerves during the interview. It's also helpful to search the location of the interview beforehand to ensure you know where it is on the day of your interview. Consider any traffic that you may encounter on the day of the interview and prepare the outfit you plan on wearing.
6. Go to the interview
Once the interview day has arrived, make sure you've dressed appropriately and that you've made it on time. Be mindful of your nonverbal communication and cues and be an active listener. Hiring managers appreciate interviewees who engage well with them. After the interview, you should consider following up on the internship to demonstrate your continued enthusiasm.
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