How to Get an Internship You’ll Love
Attending college offers students a full range of educational experiences. However, it doesn’t provide the work experience that is often necessary to land the job you want after graduation.
An internship gives you the hands-on knowledge you won’t get in class, and potential employers will be paying attention to those experiences.
Staying on the lookout for these opportunities is always a good idea, but if you are specifically looking for a summer internship, February is the best time to start your search. If you’re interested in a Fall semester internship, you should start looking in May-June, and for Spring semester internships you should start your search in October-November. Check out these five tips on how to get an internship that you'll actually love.
1. Assemble Your Application Materials
You want to stand out from the other candidates, so be sure you have your application materials in order. Prepare your resume by highlighting your experience (paid or unpaid), skills, and educational progress. Be sure to highlight what you have to offer the employer.
You also want to create a polished cover letter for the internship you're applying to, and be specific about how the internship aligns with your future goals and objectives. This should be compelling enough to convince the reader to proceed forward and review your resume.
2. Connect With the Right Sources
It’s not as difficult to find an enjoyable internship as you might think. There are potential resources right in front of you. By connecting with the right sources, you can find out about available internships. Some of these strategies include:
- Searching industry-specific job boards
- Speaking with school professors
- Networking with others in the industry
- Attending workshops in the field
- Talking to family or friends
- Viewing company career pages
Always keep an ear out for internship opportunities and follow up on any leads you get. The more avenues you try, the more likely it is that you will discover an internship you will be excited about.
3. Follow Your Passion
You might be thinking you should get an internship just for the sake of having it on your resume. Another question you might be wondering about is: Do interns get paid? The answer depends on the employer. Some internships are paid, and some are not. Ones that are paid are usually more structured and adhere to a strict schedule, as most internships pay an hourly wage or salary. The hours also range from 20-40 hours per week.
Unpaid internships may sound unattractive, but they still offer great benefits. If you still lack relevant experience and are interested in a particular field, an unpaid internship is a great way to get your foot in the door. They also tend to be more flexible and may even be applied as college credit.
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4. Prepare for the Interview
Being prepared for the interview is one of the essential things you can do to ensure you obtain the internship you love. Set yourself up for success by going over your resume, practicing talking about your accomplishments or skills, researching common interview questions, and preparing an interview prep sheet.
The employer will likely be interviewing multiple candidates, so you want to stand out with concise, specific, and targeted answers. Some questions you may get asked include:
- Why do you want this internship?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Why did you choose your field of study?
- Why should we choose you for this internship?
5. Follow Up Professionally
Once the interview is completed, you might be sighing a breath of relief — but it’s not over yet. Take time to follow up. This will put you front and center in the employer’s mind. A simple thank you email for the interview is usually sufficient. Make sure you send it within one day of doing the interview. Include the following elements in your letter:
- Thank the employer for the opportunity to interview with them.
- Highlight something you enjoyed learning about the company.
- Offer your contact information if they need anything else.
- Express enthusiasm about hearing back from them.
Now, you’re prepared to land an internship you’ll love. For more internship and entry-level job search tips, head to our Job Seeker Resource Center.
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