Strategies for finding Internship Opportunities

Strategies for Getting Internship Opportunities

Today’s graduates face the toughest job market in decades and students leaving university over the subsequent few years are going to likely face increasing competition with a shrinking number of graduate opportunities.
To market your skills to recruiters, it’s important that you simply start ruminating on ways to differentiate yourself immediately. One method of differentiating yourself is via having work experience and for you to have it; you have to come up with a wise solution: an internship, paid or unpaid, part-time or full-time.


Today’s job market makes an internship more important than ever and whatever your field may be, having internships on your resume before leaving the university tells potential employers that you have experienced work environments, you are committed to your career, and have some knowledge of the industry you’d like to work in.
But it is sad that students often struggle with finding these first internships with no prior work experience and only a vague idea of what they’d want to do.
It used to be that higher education in itself was enough to ensure you a high-paying job immediately after graduation. But with more and more people choosing to go to universities, a degree alone does not cut it anymore. Increasingly, hiring managers expect you to possess internship experience so that when you get your first job, you will be ready to hit the ground running.

New graduates and people experiencing career change can try internships to get experience in those new career fields and develop new knowledge and skills. Internships are often the bridge between an unsatisfying career and a new and exciting venture. You can use internship and job search databases to spot companies that meet your criteria.
You can find the right internship if you use different strategies. Attending career fairs, networking, looking for internship listings online, and identifying prospective employers through classified ads are all ways to start conducting your internship search. Getting a good internship involves time and planning, but the results are worth the effort.


Start Your Search Early
Be aware that certain industries with internships opportunities have early deadlines. They usually recruit or hire as early as November yearly. If you begin your internship search long before then, it gives you additional lead time.


Consider Your Qualifications
One of the common misconceptions that students have about how to get an internship is that they have to apply to every role they set their eyes on in order to expand their choices. But this is a sure way of getting silence from recruiters and hiring managers. Instead, identify the experience and skills you possess currently, and the positions you are a good match for based on the things you’ve identified. Here are some ways to identify the internships which are right for you:

  • Think about your degree and search for common career fields and job titles for people with your major.
  • Think about your previous work experience, and which roles it might have prepared you for.
  • Identify transferable skills that help you succeed in school such as organization, critical thinking, and time management. These will all be useful in the working world and thorough research will reveal which jobs require these skills.
  • Explore your interests and write down a couple of career fields that interest you, and search for internships in those areas, because with the amount of time you spend at work, you want to make sure you enjoy it while at it.
  • Start small and don’t feel pressured to have your dream internship immediately, especially if you’ve got no prior work experience. Start by exploring small local organizations and volunteering to bolster your resume.
  • Decide on what you would like to try out, but don’t be concerned about being too specific. Gaining work experience in different career fields may be a good idea if you’re unsure about the career you would like to pursue when you graduate. Think about what you enjoy and the way it may turn into a career. Internships can offer you exposure to opportunities and an avenue to try new and exciting career fields.


Speak with family, friends, and career counselors at your school about what sort of internship you would like and when and where you want to do it.
You can contact alumni from your university so that they can provide you with valuable information on career options and internships you can pursue. Remember to send a thanks note to them for sharing their time and expertise.
If a student has an internship that intrigues you, ask him for advice on landing an identical internship yourself, either with his organization or elsewhere. Students who have internships have a far better sense of the various internship opportunities that exist, in both their own organizations and in others. So make sure you tap into their collective knowledge, especially as they may lead you to the right people to contact.
Getting a recommendation will have a tremendous impact on your internship search. So ensure you ask your friends, family, colleagues, classmates, or anyone around if they know organizations hiring. You never know what opportunities it’d lead to.


Check Online Resources
Contact the Career Services Office at your school to know if they have recommended internship resources you can use. Your university’s career service isn’t just a place to talk about different career paths; you can connect with an outsized network of professionals and businesses there as well.
Go through job websites to seek internships you’re interested in, and narrow results down by location, size, industry, company ratings, and more. However, don’t rely on this approach alone. Keep in mind that a lot of internships opportunities aren’t advertised online but are instead gotten through word of mouth. It’s best to use a variety of methods to maximize your chances of getting a good internship. Also, visit organizations’ websites to know employers who are hiring interns.
Websites like have a lot of job listings, so you’re bound to find something that’s good for you. You can also get relevant opportunities delivered to your inbox if you subscribe to their specific job alerts.


Attend Career Fairs
Check with your Career Services Office at your school to know about career and/or internship fairs happening with employers who attend these career fairs to recruit, screen, and hire talented interns and employees. Career and internship fairs also can be invaluable, as they allow you to meet face-to-face with hiring decision-makers.
Make sure you are ready to present a 60-second introduction that demonstrates how you’ll be useful to an employer. Remember to follow up with any recruiters you meet at the fairs.


Contact Employers or Companies Directly
Call or visit employers you like and inquire about holiday jobs/internships. Again, be prepared to present a 60-second introduction that sells your skills and describes how you’ll be useful.
Be sure to follow up with prospective employers to schedule a telephone or an in-person interview.
If you’ve got a dream company in mind, but they don’t have any relevant internships, you can write them a letter of interest with the hope that they’re going to either contact you when one opens or maybe create a position for you. You’ll never know if you don’t try.


Work with a Career counselor at Your School
Career counselors have an idea where students from your school are interning now or have interned in the time past. They also work closely with on-campus recruiters from different organizations. Career counselors are a major source of internship leads for you.


Talk to Your Professors
As career counselors, your professors also will know where some students are interning now or have interned before. Additionally, they have consultancy, research, and other ties to various companies and organizations outside of academia; thus, many professors may be aware of internship programs in these organizations.


Use Your School’s Alumni Network
Most campuses, usually through their career services or alumni offices, try to maintain contacts with alumni working in various organizations and industries. Find out about the alumni network and the way you’ll make use of this, and ask about any mentoring or placement schemes. Attend networking events organized by your university, or consider contacting some alumni from your school with interesting-sounding job titles directly to find out about internships in their places of employment – building these connections will help you hear about new openings.


Tap into the Resources of Your Circle of Relatives, Friends, and Acquaintances
Most university students don’t think of asking their relations, friends, and acquaintances to help them with career-related tasks like internship hunting. Make sure you don’t fall into this trap.


Send Speculative Applications
Develop a list of organizations you want to intern with and send speculative emails. Don’t forget to send your CV with a brief personalized cover letter explaining why you’d want to work with them and ask about any upcoming vacancies. Keep track of the names of all the organizations that you’ve emailed alongside the date of your email and any response, keeping in mind that you will probably not get to hear back from most of them. For every 50 emails you send, you’ll probably hear back from about five approximately. Don’t let this get you down! Perseverance and persistence are all part of the process. With time and diligence, your efforts will pay off in an internship that provides you with the experience you need to land the job you would like in the longer term.


Try Volunteering
While looking for a place for your first internship, you can volunteer with organizations you like. This is an excellent way to gather experience, develop skills relevant to your target role, and grow your network.


Prepare Your Application Materials
No matter what job you apply to; there are a couple of key materials you need to possess. Here are some of the common ones, and the way to perfect them before you apply.


Your Resume
Writing your first resume is always difficult, as you need a resume to apply for your first internships and jobs, but you don’t have much experience to include. Or at least you think you don’t. In truth, you probably have lots to mention. Consider personal hobbies and extracurricular interests, volunteering and part-time work, and the skills and knowledge acquired during your studies. What skills does one have that an employer could like? This could include research and planning, social media, community building, or Photoshop. Instead of organizing your resume based on work experience, list your key skills then give concrete instances of how you’ve acquired and utilized each of them.
Here are some tips you can use as you write your resume:

  • Use the STAR format which is situation, task, action, and result in writing your work experience.
  • Quantify your impact with numbers whenever possible
  • List your accomplishments, not just your daily tasks
  • Highlight meaningful extracurricular activities and awards
  • Write the skills & responsibilities found in the job description
  • Keep it clean, simple & easy-to-read


Cover Letter
Cover letters add additional context to your application and it shouldn’t just list what’s on your resume but it ought to persuade whoever is reading the letter that you are the right fit for the job.
Here are some tips to guide you as you write your cover letter:

  • Start with a unique opening line
  • Do some research into the company and mention a few things you’ve learned to showcase your knowledge of and passion for the organization
  • Explain how your previous work experience (if any) has prepared you for this position
  • Share a couple of ideas about how you would contribute to the organization if hired
  • Customize your letter for any job you want to apply for


Social Media Profiles
Many hiring managers use social media to research applicants and some may even ask for a link to your social media profiles. So if you don’t have one already, you’ll have to create one, especially on a professional networking site like LinkedIn.
Here is a guide to follow:

  • Choose a headshot for your profile picture that is professional
  • Add relevant work experience
  • Keep it appropriate
  • Share and engage with relevant industry content


Online Portfolio
If you’re entering an ingenious field like web development, graphic design, or writing, an online portfolio is a superb way to stand out from other candidates. Platforms like Squarespace and Wix make it easy to put together an organized collection of your most remarkable projects and work samples.
As you’re creating your online portfolio, remember:

  • Showcase the projects that most closely resemble the type of work you’d like to do
  • Describe the impact these projects had
  • Keep it clean and easy to read
  • Update it frequently

With your materials available, you should be able to apply. It may likely take multiple trials, but if you remain at it, you will eventually hear back from a hiring manager asking you to come for an interview.


Answer Interview Question Like an Expert
When you adequately prepare for an interview, it won’t be intimidating. So before your interview, get some basic information about the organization — things like what products/services they provide, the people on their leadership team, the milestones they’ve reached recently, who their competitors are, etc.
You can also use this information to ask a couple of questions of your own. Asking the hiring manager certain questions about the company will show that you are passionate, curious, well-informed, and diligent.
You’ll also want to research common interview questions beforehand to see what real recruiters are asking job candidates like you. Once you’ve identified some of these questions, practice their answers aloud with a loved one.
These tips can be applied when you are answering nearly any interview question:

  • Be specific when responding to a question and do not give the interviewer a vague or evasive answer.
  • Think positive and always exude enthusiasm and optimism. No one wants to have someone who makes it clear that this isn’t their first-choice internship.
  • Ask for a time when faced with a tough interview question, sometimes your mind just goes blank. Rather than rushing through a half-baked answer and take a couple of moments to collect your thoughts.
  • Be yourself when answering questions being asked by the interviewer or hiring manager.


Follow up & finalize the offer
Once you’ve gotten past your interview, the hard part is over but your work isn’t quite over just yet. To start with, you have to send a Thank you note to the people you spoke with. Thank-you notes show that you’re organized and thoughtful, and these qualities matter a lot to employers. To write a great thank-you letter:

  • Send it within 24 hours
  • Thank the interviewer for their time
  • Mention what you enjoyed learning about the company
  • End with a call-to-action which is for them to reach out to you for any information they might need

Then, it’s time to wait until a hiring manager gives you an update. If they don’t contact you when they said they would send a brief check-in note or a gentle reminder.
With some luck, you’ll get an internship offer from the organization shortly afterward. Most companies make it official by sending you a written offer letter, which you’ll be expected to sign and return to them. Look out for vital details like start dates, responsibilities, pay, etc. You should also ask if there’s anything you’ll do between now and your start date so as to prepare — you would want to start off on the right foot.
Congratulations on this exciting breakthrough in your career, and good luck!

Career Advice, Job Search Tips

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