There are quite a few defining moments in a student’s high school and college career, and an internship is one of them. Internships are an incredibly valuable experience for students as they go through their school years and eventually enter the workforce. They are essentially the first step of a student’s professional career.
Despite this, some students may shy away from internships, especially unpaid ones, as they may seem very intimidating or overwhelming when added to a student’s already busy schedule. But that shouldn’t deter students in pursuing them as internships, including unpaid ones, can do wonders for students both personally and professionally.
Where Can I Find an Internship?
Once you have determined your desired field, it’s time to begin the hunt. Today, finding an internship is easier than ever, with all the resources students have at their disposal. Here are some ways for you to find an internship in your area.
Begin With Your Counselors
If you’re just beginning your search for an internship, the best place to begin is your school counselor. Often times, they are aware of current internship opportunities in your area, or they can at least point you to who can help you on your internship search. My school, for example, has a “career services” department that handles all internship opportunities, including a staff member whose main job is to coordinate and promote internships. This resource is a valuable resource for students in my school to find internships.
Most likely, your school has a similar department or administrator who would be able to help you find internships in your desired industry/location. Utilize that resource to your advantage!
If your school doesn’t have any internships that seem appealing to you at the moment, then your next best bet is to look online. Nowadays, virtually anything can be found online, and internships are no exception.
Some places to look are the websites of various businesses, social media, and internship sites. There are so many internship search engines, including Fastweb
Local businesses, or branches of a chain company, in your area may offer internships. These can be especially helpful when trying to find an internship in a specific field. For example, if you are set on attending medical school, you would benefit from interning at a hospital or clinic. Look at these institutions’ websites or social media accounts and see if there are any posted internships.
Cold Call Companies
Many times, companies may not have a specific internship or position posted on their website or on any of their media accounts, but it may not be a bad idea to directly call/contact these companies and ask if there may be some way for you to get an internship there. Make sure when you call companies that you highlight any skills you have that may be of value. I recommend calling companies if you are familiar with the company and know that you would enjoy interning there.
By calling, you show the company that you are willing to take initiative and are a motivated and determined student. This may impress them and, hopefully, you’ll be offered an internship. Other times, companies may promise to notify you if a position does become available in the future. It’s always a good idea to call and directly ask because the worst that can happen is they simply say there are no positions. At the very least, you’ll at least have gained valuable experience going out into the world and taking initiative to try to accomplish your tasks.
Go to Job Fairs
Job and career fairs are a very undervalued resource. If your school or community hosts one of these fairs, make sure to attend and be prepared so that you can get the most out of the experience as possible. Before you go to the fair, prepare by having a short introduction for yourself that showcases prior experience (if you have any) and your talents. Be sure to tell potential employers how you can be of value to them.
After the fair, be sure to follow up with any recruiters or employers that you may have met there. By following up, you demonstrate interest and passion for a potential internship that you may be offered.
Hopefully, one of these methods will prove useful in your search for an internship.
Why Should I Get an Internship?
Following are just some of the many reasons how an internship would be beneficial to you.
A huge benefit of having an internship is that you gain experience, the single most important thing when it comes to securing a job. Internships are an amazing way to gain experience while you are still in school, making you stand out as a candidate when it comes time to hunt for jobs, and oftentimes you may be hired by the company you interned for.
Internships also allow students to get a glimpse into what life in a certain career would or would not look like. For example, if a student has a passion in say, bio research and careers in that area, interning for a research corporation allows that student to recognize if they are truly interested in that field. Internships can also work the other way: if a student is unsure of which careers they are interested in pursuing after their schooling, internships are a great way to sample different occupations and industries to see what interests you.
For high schoolers especially, internships are also an impressive way to show colleges that you are a hardworking, passionate student who can handle the responsibility of working in a real-world career, possibly making you stand out in college admissions.
On a more personal level, internships are incredibly valuable tools to teach you decision-making, communication, collaboration, and time management skills in a more career-oriented setting as well as a variety of other skills, such as confidence in yourself, the ability to learn and apply new ideas, and the ability to think critically about certain situations.
So, once you decide that, yes, you are interested in obtaining an internship, the question is, where do you begin looking for an internship? Before you actively begin looking for an internship, the key question to ask yourself is what industry/field you would want to intern in. Are you leaning towards the medical field, or are you more of an English person looking to intern at a local newspaper or magazine? Maybe you would benefit from a technology related field? The possibilities are truly endless.
Good luck with your internship search!