Eight Tips On How To Find An Internship
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Student Life

Eight Tips On How To Find An Internship

Find and sustain an internship with these helpful techniques.

Eight Tips On How To Find An Internship
George Mason University Career Services

The thorn in the side of most college students, especially my fellow liberal artists, is the plight of searching for an internship.

It is incredibly frustrating to submit applications and never receive a response. It is also irritating when there are not any opportunities in the field in which you want to work, because there are tens of thousands of people competing against you. However, there is hope, and there are strategies to keep you in the game. Every internship process is different, but here are some general tips that are helpful to use whether you are a scientist or an artist.

1. Create a Linkedin profile.

Linkedin is a networking site for professionals seeking employment and looking to make contact with their peers. You can upload your resume, publications, writing samples, education, and skills that may be attractive to employers. Prior to submitting your internship application, connect with people that work at that organization. Gauge their insight and show your passion for their work and their business. For instance, one of my Linkedin connections was instrumental in my admission to a competitive fellowship for the U.S. Government.

2. Keep your resume and cover letter handy.

I have not seen a single application that does not usually ask for one or both of these documents. The resume you submit for review should only be one page. Keep a master resume that catalogs your experiences, but also create a one-page version of the resume that has the most relevant information to submit to the organization to which you are applying. The cover letter is akin to an essay form of your resume and should not exceed one page. It should introduce you, your program of study, your availability, your primary experience, your skills, and show your excitement to join the organization. It is best to have a general cover letter that you can upload to internship sites like Indeed, Idealist, and Linkedin Jobs, but also a cover letter that you can adjust to specifically apply to a certain position. In both the resume and cover letter, use key words from the application (usually located in the requirements, qualifications, and description).

3. Don’t settle.

You are capable. Want to get paid? You can! Want to find an opportunity in a certain field? You can! You're an educated individual! Internship portals like Idealist, Indeed, and Linkedin Jobs all have filters that allow you to search for paid positions. Use them. You just have to know where to look and continue applying.

4. Consider new opportunities.

It is definitely important to find an internship within your field of study. However, there is definitely nothing wrong with doing something a little tangential. If you are studying political science, communication internships are excellent compliments. If you are an engineer, experiences with relevant non-profit organizations are valuable stories to have. It shows you are well-rounded and have the ability to adapt to new environments, and gives you a new perspective to your program of study.

5. Use who you know.

Many industries in the United States hire who they know. Fraternities and sororities, parents, former supervisors, and friends are possible portals through which to gain work experience. Not only can your contacts help you gain experience, but you can assist the day-to-day operations of your contacts' place of work. Knowing someone in that field makes it easier to pitch your services.

6. Apply to everything and everywhere.

Do not give up in your application process. Send your resume and cover letter to any organization that appears interesting to you. One or more organizations will respond to you. However, you have to throw your experience at them. Organizations receive hundreds of documents every day. Having a concise resume and cover letter will make you more likely to receive a response. However, not only can you simply send your documents to organizations, many of these organizations use certain job sites as reservoirs for job candidates. Create profiles and upload resumes to platforms like Indeed, Idealist, Linkedin Jobs, USAJobs, and more. There are virtually limitless databases offered to make the job hunt easier.

7. Build a network.

Once you have the internship, acquaint yourself with the people who work there. Use the job you have as a stepping stone to other positions in the organization. Most importantly, talk to the people in high places. Depending on the protocols for networking in your organization, send emails to people introducing yourself and your interests. For example, when I work for a military agency, I need to use the chain of command in asking to meet with high-level officials. Not doing so would be offensive. Ask to meet with them at their earliest convenience, and bring questions. Even more important is to keep in touch with them after you make initial contact in order to keep your name in their memory.

8. Once you have the internship… Keep looking.

It is much easier to find an internship or job if you already have one. Keep looking and sending your resume to organizations and agencies. Approach the process as a learning and networking experience. You can never have too many friends, and the best problem you can have is needing to choose between multiple internship offers.

Now, assuming you find an internship, and you hate it, at least you know that is not what you want to be doing. This is just as valuable as an experience as loving the internship. Regardless of the work you do at an internship, you will learn valuable skills and develop connections that can be beneficial in the future. Start early, keep asking, and keep learning. I certainly am. Happy hunting!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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