Last Updated: August 23, 2021
How to get an Internship - Tips for Finding Internships
Looking for the best internship opportunity can often be taxing, time-consuming, overwhelming, and might require extensive research. The awareness of lacking the experience to deal with real-world problems, and the lack of surety about one's own skills, knowledge or adaptability, can make anyone feel nervous.
Becoming an intern is a big responsibility as well. An important step in any career path is to be sure about preparing well for every step of the way - from searching and applying for internships, to fulfilling one's responsibilities as an intern. An important aspect to note while searching for internships is that there is no set time or pace to get the desired internship. Some get through sooner, whereas, some require more time. One can start applying for internships during high school, or can even prefer applying after graduation.
How are Internships Helpful?
Internships are employment platforms for young students or freshers provided by various organizations or institutions, that help them begin work as an intern for a specific period of time. Internships are undoubtedly a great way to gain exposure, experience, and new perspectives. Students get the scope to learn new things from different internships and even discover new interests or career paths during the process. Apart from experience, it helps to sharpen existing skills and develop new ones, it helps form new networks and relationships, it helps one grow professionally, and it boosts confidence, speed, problem-solving abilities, and flexibility.
Types of Internships
Before applying for an internship, students should have a basic idea about the different types of available internships, which will help make the most appropriate decision.
- College Credit Internships: These are internships that help students earn college credits by working.
- Paid Internships: These are internships by agencies or organizations that offer payment to students.
- Unpaid Internships: These are internships that offer training and help develop relevant skills without any monetary benefit.
- Externships: These are work opportunities for students who wish to acquire skills in a time period essentially shorter than internships.
- Virtual/Online Internships: These are internships that do not require students to work on-site, or from an office, and gives the option to work from home through online modes.
- Non-Profit Internships: These are internship opportunities provided by non-profit agencies that focus on service, and are mainly unpaid.
- Cooperative Education/Internships: These are internships in which the college works in association with a company or certain employers to provide long-term internship options to students, while also providing credits.
- Startup Internships: These are internship opportunities provided by startup companies.
Searching for an Internship
- Identify Skills and Interests: It is essential to pay attention to one's skills and area of interest before applying for internships. One should be clear about the responsibilities they are required to take up in any job(referring to job descriptions), and carefully examine if one can execute the job efficiently while making use of the skills and knowledge. While having a clear picture of one's interests is a great way to start searching for a suitable internship, one should make sure to not be too specific or picky about it. It will be prudent to keep the options open, as trying out different internships also help broaden perspectives.
- Start with School/College Websites: When looking for internships as students, schools and colleges can be the best source for up-to-date internship information. Regularly check the school or college website and search for internships provided. Check the details of the list and start applying. One can also choose to consult with any member of the institution's Career Center office and speak with someone who can assist with the internship search. Students should also be mindful of career/job fairs organized by institutions or companies and keep themselves updated about different opportunities.
- Internet Search: Apart from checking out school or college resources, there is always an option to surf the net for internships. A simple search in any search engine should pull up hundreds of internship websites that allow one to fine-tune the search to get just what one is looking for. Students may also consider searching for internships on popular job websites like Indeed.com, payscale.com, monster.com, dice.com, careerbuilder.com, linkedin.com, Internships.com, and so on, where numerous jobs are available for interns and freshers. In fact, Google also helps in finding potential internships based on one's location, and other requirements. Sites like Chegg.com, also help students to apply relevant skills and knowledge to earn a substantial amount.
- Target Specific Companies: If one is already clear about their interests but finding a well-suited internship on websites becomes difficult, one can surely target specific companies. After finding a list of company names one can visit their websites and create a profile. It will be wise to research about recruitment deadlines of these companies or institutes and start the application processes early. If all else fails, one can send an email to the company and express genuine interest in being an intern for the company.
- Use Networks: Finally, one can also consult with people like high school teachers, seniors, professors, friends, relatives, etc., to get a better idea about different career paths, as well as to keep an eye out for internship opportunities. Even if one obtains an opportunity for an internship, make sure to build connections, and keep in touch with colleagues, as a lot of times there are positions where any kind of recommendation may help. Using social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram can be extremely advantageous for students to get relevant internship opportunities.
Students should try and choose internships that will be a stepping-stone to the desired career path. For some people, this might be working for the actual company one would like to be employed by one day, for others it might be a company that will help focus on developing certain skills.
Tips and Guidelines
- The duration of an internship depends on the specific company. One can expect most internships to last anywhere from one term (three months) to a full year. Some internships are paid and others are not, depending on the company, and the role that one will fulfill for them.
- If a particular position requires more qualifications, skills, and greater responsibility, there are greater chances of getting paid. The pay rate will increase with the skill that is required and the experience gained thereafter. Often school credit is offered in place of pay or in addition to pay, so if the school requires one to complete an internship, be sure to ask prospective companies about their credit opportunities.
- After deciding on which internships to apply for, prepare to put the best effort into the application and interview. One's application including a cover letter, resume, important documents, and any additional information should display the best qualities and convince the employer why they will be the best candidate.
- If one gets selected for the interview, prepare well for it and do background research about the company, the requirements, and probable questions, as this may be the final step in convincing them about their potential. Practice for the interview, watch videos with practice questions or ask friends or family to help so that when the time comes one is well prepared. It is also essential to follow up with the concerned person after any interview.
- The duties and expectations of internships differ from company to company. Some internships will be focused on instructing interns on developing specific skills to complete the job, while others might require just the foundational skills to enter into the field. In any case, one should assess their skills that will be applicable for a job, and read every job description carefully, as it is important to be aware of the company's expectations before accepting and completing any internship.
- If one is looking for an internship while pursuing studies, make sure to choose an internship that will work with one's student schedule, provide credit (if required), and provide training so that one can make good use of it to learn, and later move on to the next step in one's career path.
Popular Websites for Internships
Best Majors for Internships
While there are a few majors that offer great perspectives, knowledge and skills, it may often not have great opportunities for internships. There are various majors that help students acquire internship opportunities in various fields. The majors include:
- Graphic and Media Design
- Media and Entertainment
- Business Management
- Computer Science and IT
- Human Resource
Major employment firms include Google, Microsoft, Qualcomm, MTV Networks, State Farm, Intel, GE, Proctor and Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Cisco, etc.