Looking for your first internship and don’t know where to begin? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back! We’ve compiled a list of 10 tips to make the process of finding your first internship a breeze!
- Assess Your Goals: When looking for an internship, we often look for something that will help build the skills we’ll need for our potential careers. Before you begin your search for the perfect internship, it’s important to understand what you want to get out of the experience.
These are some basic questions that will jump-start your search.
- Do you want to earn college credit?
- What kind of experience do you want to gain?
- Do you want to look for a remote or on-site internship?
- Explore Your Interests: Along with understanding your goals for the internship, it is important to discover your interests. Internships are sometimes hard to find, so exploring alternative skills and interests will enable you to find the perfect fit. Though the goal is to ultimately gain experience in your preferred field, most internships will benefit students in all subject areas.
For instance, if your major is writing-related, you may benefit from any internship in the field of communications. Many companies will also hire interns for their experience in areas other than their major.
If you have trouble finding other interests and need some assistance exploring opportunities, take this Internship Predictor quiz: https://www.internships.com/predictor
- Ask Professors or Counselors for Recommendations: One of the best places to start your search is by contacting your University Advisor, Internship Coordinator or Professors. They are usually on the lookout for opportunities for students and will be able to help you jump-start your search.
Depending on the size of your university, there may be an advisor or coordinator for each department, while other schools may have only one advisor to serve all students. Either way, most colleges and universities will have several resources within the department or even within a career services center to assist students with finding the best opportunities.
- Talk to Your Classmates/Peers: You may not realize it, but many of your peers are also struggling to find an internship. Some of them may have just landed their first interview or maybe they completed an internship last semester. No matter the circumstances, reaching out to your peers can certainly be helpful, as they may have resources or experiences to share with you that may help your search become less stressful.
- Utilize the Internet: We all resort to the internet to solve our latest problems, and honestly, the internet can be a huge help when conducting job/internship searches. Some of our favorite search sites are listed below. They allow you to filter your search based on your career path and enable you to access opportunities you otherwise may not find!
- Reach Out Directly to Companies: Create a list of companies you would like to work for and reach out directly to ask about possible internships.
Once you have an idea of where you might like to apply for an internship, it can be helpful to utilize Linkedin to search for the correct contact at the company. It can also be helpful to visit each company’s website directly to find information about applications.
- Craft a Cover Letter and Resume: Once you have discovered your goals, strengths, and interests, it’s time to put all of that information in one place. Crafting a strong cover letter and resume will help you stand out to potential employers.
You want to make sure that you include the basics in your resume:
- Your name and contact information
- A short paragraph listing your most attractive attributes and explaining what you want out of your job search
- Your education background
- Your work experience
- Any other accomplishments or noteworthy recognition
There are templates available online as well as several sites to assist in this daunting process. What many people don’t realize is that creating a resume can be fun! I mean, you get to brag about yourself and potentially get a job out of it! How awesome is that?
Check out some of these resources for help on crafting a cover letter and resume.
- Get a FREE resume review!
- Don’t Procrastinate: Anyone who has had any type of job or internship in the past knows that the process is sometimes lengthy. It is best not to wait until the last minute to conduct your internship searches, especially if you are also looking to gain college credit. Not only will job openings fill up, but you will miss out on opportunities that could potentially lead to a career!
- Prepare For The Interview: Almost every internship will require some sort of interview process. You’ll want to make sure you’re prepared. That means:
- Setting the date and time in your calendar
- Preparing some basic questions to ask the coordinator about the internship
- If you’re attending an in-person interview, choose professional clothing
- Make sure you establish what you want from the internship
- Be yourself!
- Post Internship: Once your internship comes to a close, make sure to add your new experience and skills to your resume. It can also be helpful to keep in touch with your internship coordinators and coworkers after the internship has ended. Maintaining these relationships can be helpful when it comes to finding future jobs and opportunities.
We recommend keeping a second document called “Work History”, which records the company name, location, and contact information of your supervisors/managers as well as your job title and pay rate. This can be helpful when you need to create a reference list in the future or when negotiating your future salary.
Follow these 10 tips and you’ll be sure to be prepared for your first internship!