How to Find an Internship
As a mom to three kids who have searched for internships, I know how challenging it can be. I have worked with Loren Kelly for several years through my Next Phase Parenting Summits. She is a down-to-earth career counselor with sensible advice on all things career preparation. Her sessions at the summits have been some of our most popular. She has contributed this post on How to Find an Internship.
Read her advice below and also check out her sessions from our summit in our shop.
How to Find an Internship
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The Ultimate Guide for Finding and Getting Internships
A guest post by Loren Kelly
Did you know many companies begin posting summer internship opportunities the fall prior? That’s right, internship opportunities for next summer are already in the works! Help your student get a jump on their summer plans by assisting with the internship search and application process!
What makes a good internship?
Not all internships are created equally. Make it a top priority to find an internship where your student will learn, grow, be challenged, and build a network rather than fetching coffee. Here’s what the best internships provide.
A good summer internship will have structure. Asking questions such as, “What does the typical day look like for an intern?” or “What objectives do you have for summer interns?” will help you identify the level of structure and advanced-thought a company has given to their summer internship program. Some companies even have interns complete a project or create friendly competition between interns. These structures help students maximize learning experiences during summer employment, especially if the internship is remote.
The most valuable summer internships will include a strong mentorship component. Asking about who you will report to and how regular your communication will be will give a student good insight as to how strong an internship’s mentorship component will be. It is likely that the mentor will be in the interview. Don’t hesitate to direct a few additional questions to that person to get a feel for his/her personality, management style, and approach to work and mentoring.
Internships are all about learning and gaining experience. Make sure the opportunities you are considering for summer internships will challenge you and provide you with ample opportunities to learn new skills. Sure, a student intern is going to be asked to complete some easy tasks (filing papers, etc.) from time to time; that is part of the role. Make sure, however, that you will receive new training, gain new experiences, and learn new things about your industry.
The work environment can make all the difference in an internship experience. Many well-established internship programs will have articles published online from former interns who share their experiences. Take advantage of these public articles and read them before your interviews! They provide a great perspective on the work environment as well as mentorship components and learning opportunities. Then, in your interviews, ask the panel how they would describe the work environment of their company or what they enjoy most about their job and company.
If you are wondering what makes a good internship, the pay and compensation should be the LAST factor you consider of these top five. Why? Because the purpose of an internship is not to make a lot of money. The purpose is to learn, grow, and identifying components that would bring you long-term career fulfillment. To students and parents, a $1 an hour pay difference may seem like a good reason to choose one internship over another; however, given the short-term nature of internships, the earning potential between $14/hour and $15/hour will end up being less than $300 dollars after taxes. It is MUCH more important to accept an internship for growth potential and the right work environment than it is for a small wage difference.
Where can you find paid internships?
I recommend students use two avenues to search for paid internships: word-of-mouth networking and published job banks. The first step a student can take is notifying their immediate network (friends, family, and social network connections) that they are seeking summer internship opportunities in a specific field. Making your intentions known early is key. Your network may not know of any opportunities now; however, when they do hear of them, they will be able to let you know!
The second and very popular way to find paid internships is through published job banks. It is important to note that since this is an easier way to find opportunities, your competition is much greater! As a result, I recommend getting organized and applying to multiple internships that are of interest to your student. Without further delay, here are five places to find published, paid internships.
If your student doesn’t already have one, be sure they make a LinkedIn profile. Follow companies in their industry that they are interested in potentially working for one day and stay up to date on their company and internship opportunities. They can also search for jobs and internships using LinkedIn! It is important to make sure their profile is complete prior to applying through LinkedIn though. Don’t leave education, work experience, or profile photo incomplete! Get my LinkedIn guide to help!
One of my favorite online job banks is Indeed.com. It is very large and allows you to search with multiple criteria. Perhaps your student is a business marketing major specifically interested in digital media marketing. Indeed will return a large number of opportunities for a specific search. In addition, you can be emailed notifications when new opportunities arise that match your criteria. A proactive action is to download the Indeed App and spent at least 15 minutes a week browsing opportunities while you are eating lunch, waiting for an appointment, etc.
Every university will offer career services to students in some capacity. Locate the office and browse their listings. In addition, this same office likely hosts a career fair each semester. Find out when that is and make it a point to attend. Take a polished resume and prepare ahead of time to set yourself up for success!
Way Up is a website designed just for college students and upcoming graduates. That’s right! They do a lot of the work for you by posting positions at companies that don’t require years of experience or fancy industry credentials. They specialize in entry-level jobs and internships – a perfect resource for students looking for paid internships!
Much like Indeed, Glassdoor is an online job bank that allows candidates to search using multiple criteria (paid internships being one of them). What I like about Glassdoor is that it takes its services a step further! Students can look at company reviews to get some insight into what it is like to work there. That’s not all! Prepare your student for interviews by looking at lists of questions and tips from candidates who have interviewed with the company previously. This website is an excellent resource for students seeking full-time employment and paid internships!
How I Can Help You Get an Internship
Gone are the days of a college degree being the ticket to a good job after graduation. Employers value and expect candidates to have industry-relevant work experience during college. I help students navigate the career planning and job search process to ensure they are set up for success after graduation. Learn more about my services and former client successes!
Book a free consultation to discuss your next internship or job opportunity!
About Loren Kelly
Loren is an experienced college instructor and career coach. She is passionate about helping students and young professionals develop a winning career plan and excel in the workforce. Get help with career direction, resume, interview, LinkedIn, or job search help! www.lorenkellycoaching.com