Finding Internship Drama – Career Calling
Have you ever considered what exactly you want to do after you’ve earned your degree? If you’re one of those people who are blessed with divine determination and know what you want to be at the age of 10, you might as well consider gaining some practical experience. Though, knowing those types, you must have already devised plans A, B, C and D-Z, as well as a variety of Greek-letter ideas for advancing your knowledge. On the other hand, if you’re still not quite sure what you want to do, now might be the time to start bouncing some ideas off your friends! Wherever you find yourself between the perfectionist A-B-C planner and the slightly lost student, you’ll have something in common with them – the finding internship drama.
Firstly, what is an internship?
An internship is a time-limited introductory position within a company that provides young people (most often students) the opportunity to gain an insight into the job market and the career path they are interested in. Internships can be paid or unpaid (for example, the European Union is fighting to ban all unpaid internships and damn right they are!) or provide other kinds of compensation (memberships, wellness programs, traineeships, etc.). While it’s really in your best interest (ethical for the company) to do paid internships, you should be ready to do one for free if it’s offered by your dream company or lets you work in a branch you know your dream job is in.
The Best Way to Find Internships
There are many reasons to do an internship nowadays, but you may be wondering what the best way to find one is – I mean, the job market seems to be brimming with offers, but there’s still unemployment. It may well have to do with that ridiculous demand for a minimum five years of experience for an entry-level job. While this is certainly laughable and a red flag for the company itself, getting some work experience is never a bad idea.
Here are some common-sense tips that never fail:
- Talk to a university/school counsellor. There are tons of internships available to students and a good deal of those are advertised directly with universities and even schools rather than online. Study counsellors are well-acquainted with such offers, and they help students reach an agreement with a company regarding their work hours and responsibilities.
- Build a network. Even though I am way beyond the internship age and should know better by now, I’m always surprised by how much friends can help you find a job or an internship. Someone hears about this chance, the other has been tipped off at the party somewhere and the grapevine grows. Ask around, do a bit of snooping, make those connections – you may be surprised at what people bring you.
- Volunteer. Yes, I know you’re after a paid internship, but volunteering is a great way to get in touch with companies or organisations that can offer you internships.
- Go to job fairs. Apart from job offers, companies advertise their internships at job fairs too. They’re always happy to talk to students and introduce their work. Besides internships, you may even find some cool scholarship options and arrangements to write your thesis with the company.
- Cold calling and asking companies directly. At the end of the day, taking a phone and calling several companies of interest may not be the worst way to get an internship. While it may land you with some rejections, you never know what kind of acceptances you might get.
While you’re scouring various options, don’t forget to check in with yourself about what exactly you’re looking for. Take some time to plan your career, consider what jobs you find most appealing, and look for internships according to your needs.
Best Websites to Find Internships
Of course, traditional ways of finding internships are not the only way to do it. In our digital world, looking for internships online brings just as satisfactory results as networking and calling companies. Here are some specialised websites that’ll make your search easier:
- LinkedIn. This best-known job-hunting website covers internships too. Simply apply the appropriate search filter. LinkedIn also promotes online networking and forging connections. With that in mind, the top-secret tip they don’t want you to know about is: after you’ve applied for a position, you should also contact the recruiter directly and express your interest in the position.
- Internships.com. This internship-specific website really can’t be easier to navigate – simply enter the city you want to find an internship in and relevant keywords. They, too, have an easy-apply option right on the website, so you don’t have to chase random email addresses and read through excessive company information before you find the proper application portal.
- YouTern. This is a quirky little website in that it doesn’t only offer the typical search, but it can also connect you with various mentors who can help you out with your career plans.
- Glassdoor. I must say, apart from great search tools, this website is also super helpful because people post reviews about companies. In the world of red flags, early years of working are all about learning the secret codes of the corporate world (e.g. when someone says their company is like a family, run for the hills because this basically means no work-life balance). On Glassdoor, you get it straight and narrow from the get-go.
- FindAnInternship.co.uk. A UK-based internship-finder that specialises in several branches, such as HR, marketing, journalism, and business development. The website is super up-to-date and has promoted internships (which usually means they want someone ASAP). Each ad provides detailed information about the position and requirements, as well as the apply-directly button.
PS Don’t underestimate the power of good old googling, just make sure to use the wildcard internship to get relevant results.
Can You Find Remote Internships?
Much as we contest the fact and relax, the precious little virus that has halted the economy (and life) for two years now can also put a spanner in the whole internship search. If you’re immunocompromised in any way or are not yet ready to venture into crowds, you may be wondering whether remote internships are a thing. On the other hand, it may just happen that what you want to do is simply not available in your area, and it’s beyond unreasonable to commute or move to the location for a position that’ll only last for a few months.
What’s the solution? Embrace home office. Many companies have realised that remote work is not the bane of productivity (quite the opposite really) and have expanded their modus operandi. Similarly, startups tend to offer remote work in addition to the hands-on approach to the job (you certainly won’t be making or buying endless coffees there). If you’re looking for a remote internship, simply add this to the search filter in any of the above-listed websites and let yourself be hired.
Lastly, to play on the meaning of the word remote, you might want to check out internships abroad. There’s no better place than GoAbroad, the internship-finder that connects you with the whole world. Doing anything abroad, from volunteering to job-hunting, is a wonderful way to expand your horizons and add that cherry on top of your excellent career track.
Ask Yourself: What Will Help Me Find an Internship?
Finding internships is not just about scrolling and blindly sending your application wherever (or into the abyss). Granted, getting an internship may be easier than getting a job as the requirements are more lenient, but still, there are ways of increasing your chances:
- Boost your CV. No, not by lying, that’s easily busted – by making it look professional. List your educational background, hard and soft skills you possess, previous work or volunteering experience, and your interests. No one expects you to have a stellar CV content-wise, but it should be proofread, neatly arranged, and memorable.
- Write a convincing cover letter. Even if it’s not strictly required by the application, you should write a cover letter in which you underline why you want to work for the said company and what makes you a desirable candidate. Emphasise your strengths, the desire to learn, and your flexibility and agility and watch the magic happen.
- Prepare for the interview. At this stage in your life, interviews are probably a frightful prospect – but don’t panic! Most interviewers will ask you fairly basic questions about your plans and aspirations, which you should brainstorm some time in advance. If you’re really scared of the possible difficult ones, check out our guide on answering the nasty little buggers.
Believe it or not, that’s all there is to it. While these steps are not necessarily easy when you have no experience; once you’ve mastered the art of all three, you’ll be breezing through the job market.
Is the Best Place for Finding Internships Within or Without?
To recap: Internships are short-term introductory positions within a company or an organisation that allow young people to learn the ropes of specific or general jobs. They can be paid or unpaid, range between three months and a year (in case of the latter, you should really gun for paid ones), and are great for gaining work experience, building a network, and helping you determine what you want to do in life.
There are many ways of finding an internship, the most popular and failsafe ones include:
- Talking to a school/uni advisor.
- Going to job fairs.
- Calling companies directly.
- Using specialised search engines.
Whichever avenue you choose to pursue, make sure that you’re looking for positions that speak to you and your career plans. Don’t just accept the first thing that comes your way if you believe it’s not really your thing – that’s a recipe for misery, and it’s simply too early to be miserable about a job. The best internships actually come when you reconcile your personal ambitions and interests with what’s available on the market. That way you get to learn the most and accumulate the most relevant work experience (which looks far better on your CV than your average Jack of every trade).
Follow your dream jobs and the success will follow you!