Finding the Right Internship for You

The latest report from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that more than 46 million students were enrolled in colleges and universities across the U.S. Many of these students will be competing for the internship programs available. Internship programs differ from company to company based on their need. Some internship programs pay, while others are on a volunteer basis. In either program, you’ll learn what it’s like to work in the world outside of college, as College Board explains below. Learn how to find the right program for you, or how to propose one to the right company. These three tips below will get you ready for your internship, and the future job market.

1) Learn What an Internship Does for You
Most programs teach you what it’s like to work in a corporate office, or they may show you how to do field work. They will force you to learn basic skills such as time management, budgeting, prioritization and communication. You’ll also be exposed to the typical office culture found in today’s workplace.

They will give you a different perspective into the industry and help you fine tune your choice of majors. They could motivate you in an unexpected direction or help you find a new career interest. Most importantly, these programs will get you started in creating a professional network of contacts that will be helpful in your future career decisions.

2) Searching for the Right Internship Program
Your first task is to determine what you want to do. Looking for an internship program parallels looking for a job in many ways. In what industry do you want to work and what functions do you want to perform there? Online searches are a good start because they are easy to do. A simple “Seattle law office internship” will give you a list of local companies you could consider. Try individual company websites and see if they include information about available internships. Also check a company’s social media sites.

Some helpful links:

You may discover that you are missing some key knowledge that’s required to get you into the internship program you want. Look for ways to supplement your education with non-credit or online study. This additional education will also boost your future work resume, too.

3) Offline Searches
In addition to the online searches, tap into your offline network. Check in with school counselors and advisors for ideas. Look at local clubs and organizations for leads or programs they may sponsor themselves. Don’t hesitate to contact companies directly for available internships.

If you’re interested in the non-profit sector, make a list of the local offices and pay them a visit. Schedule information interviews with them, and you’ll not only learn about their mission, but you’ll also develop future contacts.

4) Create Your Own Internship Program
If you don’t find what you’re looking for, and have the desire to work in a specific company, then propose your own program, suggests InterExchange. Start out with an informational interview with the company’s HR department, who may forward you to an internal manager. You’ll get good information during that meeting to formalize your proposal.

Identify a need in the company or organization that you can fill. Write up the proposal to discuss what the position would be, some details of the responsibility, and how your skills would satisfy that role. Companies appreciate the effort you put into researching their inner workings, and the initiative to put together a proposal.


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