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How To Get An Internship: A Student’s Guide

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What is Internships?

In simple terms, it’s an opportunity to gain hands-on experience with a company or organization in a role related to your career aspirations.

Types of Internships

1. Paid Internship: These are short-term positions that offer training and a small compensation, usually known as an internship stipend. Larger corporations often hire interns on a paid basis and consider them for full-time roles based on their performance.

2. Unpaid Internship: Similar to paid internships, but instead of a stipend, you receive a certificate. Nonprofits and volunteer organizations often offer unpaid internships, allowing you to showcase your dedication to social work and volunteering.

3. Summer Internships: Summers present an ideal time to be productive and acquire new skills. Many companies and organizations offer 8-12 week summer internships, providing valuable hands-on experience.

Why Pursue an Internship?

Internships offer numerous benefits for your career journey:

Clarity on Career Goals: If you’re uncertain about your career path, internships provide a perfect opportunity to explore different roles and responsibilities before committing to a full-time position.

Facilitating Career Transitions: Internships make career transitions less intimidating. For instance, if you’re an English major eyeing a marketing role, an internship in marketing can open doors, even without prior experience.

Fast-Track Your Career: Internships boost your credibility and professionalism. According to a NACE study in 2019, students with internship experience have a higher chance of landing job offers.

Practical Experience: Internships allow you to apply your skills, adapt to real-world scenarios, and develop crucial attributes like time management and teamwork.

Networking: Building a professional network is vital for fresh graduates. Internships provide an excellent platform to connect with professionals in your field.

How to Land an Internship in 5 Simple Steps?

Don’t fall into the trap of randomly applying for internships. Instead, follow this solid framework to find and apply for internships that align with your goals and needs:

Step 1: Research

Begin by thoroughly researching companies of interest. Note down potential roles and check for graduate internship vacancies. Dive into the company’s website to understand its culture, requirements, and goals.

Step 2: Reach Out

Leverage your network or create one by reaching out to professionals in your desired company. Seek insights into the application process, internship opportunities, and workplace environment.

Step 3: Update Your Resume

Tailor your resume to match the internship’s requirements. Highlight relevant skills and experiences that align with the role you’re pursuing.

Step 4: Complete Your Application

Fill out applications diligently and don’t underestimate the importance of a well-crafted cover letter. If no internship positions are listed, consider sending a cold email or connecting on LinkedIn to express your interest.

Step 5: The Interview Process

Prepare for internship interviews just like job interviews. Familiarize yourself with common interview questions and techniques to ace the process.

Popular Internship Websites

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a powerful platform for professional networking and job searches. It offers a dedicated section for internship listings.

Internships.com: Internships.com is a specialized platform that connects students and recent graduates with internship opportunities across various industries.

Indeed: Indeed is a comprehensive job search website that also features a wide range of internship listings.

Glassdoor: Glassdoor not only provides company reviews and salary information but also has an extensive database of job and internship listings.

Chegg Internships: Chegg offers a platform specifically designed for finding internships, co-ops, and entry-level positions.

Idealist: Idealist is a platform that focuses on internships and volunteer opportunities with nonprofit organizations and social impact initiatives.

WayUp: WayUp specializes in connecting college students and recent graduates with internships and entry-level jobs.

InternJobs: InternJobs is a dedicated website for internship listings in various fields, including business, technology, healthcare, and more.

InternMatch: InternMatch provides internship listings and resources to help students and employers connect effectively.

Handshake: Handshake is a platform used by many universities and colleges to connect students with employers offering internships and job opportunities.

Where to Find Internships?

To discover the best internships, you need to know where to look. Here are some effective strategies:

Internship Websites: Many websites cater to student internship opportunities. LinkedIn is a trusted platform for finding internships.

Career Fairs: Attend career fairs to interact with top employers and HR professionals offering graduate internships.

University Resources: Keep an eye on your university’s career cell for internship postings and support.

Networking: As mentioned earlier, networking is key. Connect with potential employers through your network or by reaching out directly.

Tips for Your First Internship

Here are some pointers to excel in your first internship:

  • Seek feedback and continuously improve your work.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions when faced with challenges.
  • Maintain professionalism; internships are considered work experience.
  • Stay organized with deadlines and project submissions.
  • Approach internships with intent, whether for networking or skill enhancement.

FAQs About Internships

What exactly is an internship?

An internship is a temporary work opportunity that allows you to gain practical, hands-on experience in a field or industry related to your career goals. It typically involves working with a company or organization for a defined period, during which you perform tasks and learn valuable skills.

Why should I consider doing an internship?

Internships offer several advantages, including clarifying your career goals, facilitating career transitions, fast-tracking your career, acquiring practical experience, and building a professional network. They can significantly enhance your resume and future job prospects.

What’s the difference between a paid and unpaid internship?

Paid internships provide a small compensation, often referred to as an internship stipend, in exchange for your work. Unpaid internships, on the other hand, do not offer monetary compensation but may provide other benefits such as certificates and valuable experience.

Where can I find internship opportunities?

You can find internship opportunities through various channels:

  • Internship websites, including LinkedIn, specialized internship platforms, and company websites.
  • Career fairs and events hosted by universities and organizations.
  • Networking with professionals in your desired field.
  • University career centers that regularly post internship openings.

How do I know which internship is right for me?

Choosing the right internship involves considering your career goals, interests, and skills. Research companies and roles that align with your aspirations, and reach out to professionals in the field for guidance. Networking and informational interviews can help you make an informed decision.

What should I include in my resume for internship applications?

Tailor your resume to the specific internship you’re applying for. Highlight relevant skills, coursework, volunteer work, and any previous experiences that demonstrate your qualifications for the role. Be concise and focus on your most significant achievements.

Is a cover letter necessary for internship applications?

Yes, a well-crafted cover letter is often important when applying for internships. It allows you to introduce yourself, explain your motivations, and showcase why you’re a strong fit for the position. Customize your cover letter for each application to demonstrate your genuine interest.

How can I prepare for internship interviews?

Internship interviews are similar to job interviews. Prepare by researching the company, practicing common interview questions, and emphasizing your relevant skills and experiences. Be ready to discuss your interest in the role and how you can contribute to the organization.

How can I balance my internship with my college studies?

Balancing an internship with college coursework can be challenging but manageable. To succeed, plan your daily tasks in advance, prioritize assignments, allocate time for self-care, and explore effective time management techniques. Communication with your employer about your schedule can also be helpful.

Can freelancing be considered an internship?

Freelancing can provide valuable work experience, which can be relevant to your career goals. While not the traditional form of internship, freelancing can be seen as a form of self-directed, project-based work that allows you to gain skills and build a portfolio.


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