03 August 2012

Internship Search 101

Finding a Valuable Summer Internship

An internship during the summer can be an excellent way to earn money to fund your post-secondary education and present opportunities to build up your resume. On-the-job experience plus the contacts that you can make during your internship can give you in-roads to your dream job after graduation. However, finding an internship isn't always easy and prospects can be slim, so here are some tips and things to keep in mind when you are gearing up to go internship hunting.

Defining Value

You'll need to define what a valuable internship is before you can go hunting for one. Are you alright with working as an unpaid intern or are you looking to get paid for your labor? What are you planning to do with your degree and what industry are you looking to get into after you graduate? How far are you willing to travel to get to your workplace and where are you going to be living during the summer? Answering all of these questions will help you both focus your search for a valuable internship and restrict your search to the right places.

For example, if you are one of those fortunate few who can get by without earning money during the summer, you can broaden your search to include both paid and unpaid internships. Similarly, if you can't afford gas and are planning to stay home with your parents to save money, you'll know to restrict your search to internships available only within walking or public transportation distance of your parents' home.

Casting the Net and Hauling in the Catch

The real trick to getting your ideal internship is to try, try, and try again. You should definitely try to raise your chances of success with each internship application, but there is almost nothing that you can do to absolutely guarantee an internship position. Instead, you should try to cast as many fishing lines into the sea as possible, but all that you really need is one successful hook and catch.

You can raise your chances for successfully getting an internship by doing the same things that you would do to successfully secure a job. You'll want to make sure that you thoroughly understand the requirements of the position that you are applying for so that you can tailor your resume to directly appeal to the person going through the list of candidates for that position.

Actively Research Your Internship Prospects

Take an interest in the company offering the internship and be prepared to ask questions that demonstrate your interest and understanding of their activities rather than confusion or ignorance during the interview. Be sure to act fast on any leads that you generate and be ready to start at an instant because these things demonstrate that you are exactly the kind of energetic go-getter that most companies want as an intern.

As for finding internship opportunities, there are many places to search and no end to the resources that can help. Your university's career office will have the knowledge and experience to help you with your internship search, as will local career fairs and websites that specialize in helping students find internships.

If you have spent your time around people already in the industry that you want to enter, you might be able to secure an internship through one of your network contacts. Finally, if you are truly desperate and see no opportunities elsewhere, you should consider directly contacting local companies to see if they have internship opportunities available even if they are not listed on their websites.

By: Alan Lints is a writing professional who has previously benefited from having internship experience. His knowledge of the topic comes from interning with his local paper and a major sports publication during his college years. He also contributes to Degree Jungle's Best Online Schools ranking system.

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