inding an internship can be a scary part of college for many people. It can be competitive, difficult, and time consuming looking for an internship that is a good fit for you. But, there are ways to make it easier on yourself, and make it fun as well.
Why do I need an internship?
Technically, you do not need an internship to be successful or to have a successful career. But, internships are made to help people find what they want to do in their future career, and make them more comfortable going into the real world, knowing that they have already done the networking and they know what work is expected of them.
Internships help students gain real world experience in a way that a general college classroom cannot. It teaches you how to be a professional, and how to work well with other professionals, in a space where you can feel comfortable to make mistakes because you are not expected to be perfect.
How many internships should I have?
Some people aim to have an internship every summer between college semesters. Others choose to only do one between their junior and senior year. It really depends on you, the field you are in, your school’s internship requirements, and how comfortable you feel applying for jobs.
Some colleges require students to have a certain amount of internships throughout their college career. It also depends on whether or not your first internship aligned with what you want to do. For example, if you are going into nursing, and you had your first internship at a nursing home but you want to have a job in a hospital one day, it may be beneficial to get one more internship that is located inside of a hospital. Although employers will see that you did hands-on work in your first internship, they will find it impressive that you kept trying to get exactly where you wanted to be.
Ultimately, the number of internships that you have does not matter. What matters is that you put in the effort to better yourself as a professional, and that you show your future employers that you are passionate about your field of work.
Are internships only for students
No, internships are not only for students. Although many interns are college age, adults are also able to apply for internships. There are many reasons why adults may need to apply for internships, whether they are changing their career path and want to test the waters first, they want to work for one particular company so they are using this to network, or maybe they took a long break from work and they want to ease their way back into the workforce.
There are a lot of benefits to taking an internship as an adult, as well. This includes experience and connections, just like students in college, but also to get familiarized with the work they were doing before they jump back in if they took a break.
How to find internships
Actually finding the internship can be a lot more difficult than acquiring the internship. Job posts can be confusing and misleading, so it is important that you understand what you are looking for.
LinkedIn is a great resource for finding internships. Many companies that are offering internships will post the job postings to LinkedIn. You can apply straight from the app or website, which makes things extremely easy. Some companies may not post listings about their internships at all because they expect you to network and reach out if you are interested in them.
This is another way that LinkedIn can be helpful. Find people who work in the industry that you are interested in going into, and connect with them. Build your connections and improve your profile so that they know who you are and why you are connecting with them. Then, reach out to them directly and ask them if they are looking for interns. You may get some nos, but ultimately, reaching out to them will show your interest and even if you are not offered an internship, you build a connection for a future job.
Attend career fairs
More than likely, your school holds career fairs that can help students like yourself find a job or an internship that is best fit for them. At bigger schools, you may see career fairs for individual colleges– like a Business School career fair, or a Fine Arts career fair. Go to different career fairs to talk to a more diverse group of people.
To prepare for a career fair, come equipped with at least 10 printed copies of your resume, dress in business clothing, but do not choose shoes that are going to make your feet fall asleep after an hour of wearing them. Go in with confidence and know what you want before getting there (or at least have an idea).
Go directly to the source
Make a list of the companies you have an interest in working for, and take to their websites to find out more information on their internships and jobs. They may not have any postings on their website for internships, so you can also look for contact information for anyone that may be able to point you in the right direction.
Do not be afraid to reach out directly to people and express your interest. Be straight forward and ask for what you want– that is going to be the easiest way to get straight to the point and not to waste a recruiter's time. This way, they will have respect for you and be more willing to offer you something if you are assertive.
College career center
Many colleges will have career networks where trained advisors can offer you opportunities for furthering your career– whatever that may mean for you. That means that you can go to them for internship opportunities, or more tips on how to be successful in an internship. Every college is different, and if yours does not have a career network, your college advisor can likely help you with the same exact thing.
Start your search early
Many companies begin looking for employees very early on, so starting your search early and narrowing down the companies you like ahead of time is important. Even if the companies are not advertising that they are hiring, you can still reach out and inquire about their opportunities ahead of time. This will let their recruiters know that you are passionate and driven, and that you are willing to go the extra mile to get where you want to be.
Utilize job websites
Sometimes, job websites can be difficult to navigate, especially when attempting to find internships. But, websites like Indeed.com or ZipRecruiter can be helpful to look for jobs that are in specific places, and have specific requirements that you are looking for in an internship. You can narrow it down to search for internships that are in your preferred city, that start at a date you find fit, and that have the pay you are looking for. This can be extremely helpful if you are looking for something more specific.
Finding an internship does not need to be stressful or something that you dread. Getting an internship will allow you to get a taste of what the real work you will be doing in the world looks like, and it can advance your career to help you get ahead in your respective industry. Taking this step to go above and beyond can be the change you need to push yourself! So go for it, network and reach out to people. You will be glad that you did it in the long run.