There’s a stubborn dilemma regarding job-hunting that’s been around for ages. You can't get a job without experience in most cases, but you can't get experience without a job! How can you win?

Fortunately, there are workarounds to this frustrating problem, and we’re about to explore the most popular choice: internships. However, when you decide to become an intern, you face a new set of challenges, like, for instance, how everyone else around you is thinking the same thing, so competition is fierce.

That’s why we’re here today; to give you guidance on how to get an internship. Read on and learn how to set yourself apart from the crowd!

Internships: A Very Brief Definition

An internship is a short-term professional learning experience offered by businesses and other organizations. Although internships are usually associated with the college experience, that’s not always the case. Interns perform practical work relating to their majors and career goals while gaining work experience, skill acquisition, and even networking opportunities.

Now, before understanding how to get an internship, let us understand why do you need one.

Why Go for One?

Here’s why internships are a good idea.

  • They offer a way to apply knowledge and skills learned in school
  • They familiarize you with a professional work setting
  • They give hands-on experience and training and help you figure out what kind of work you like and don’t like to do
  • They can help you find a job after graduation. If you do well as an intern, you acquire a good reputation and possible valuable contacts for future employment.

The Early Bird Gets the Intern Job

If you are in college and want to figure out how to get an internship over the summer, when should you begin your hunt? Conventional wisdom says to do it before winter break. It’s a long process involving searches, researching, job hunting, and interviews. Start early, because your competition surely will!

Define and Evaluate Your Career Goals

Although many people start college not knowing precisely where they want to end up, most have a good idea by the time they’re upperclassmen. Once you figure out your career goals, you can narrow your internship search and focus on companies that mesh with them.

Create a Resume

Resumes cover not only work experience but your skills and educational background. Include your name, contact information, education, work experience, skills, and other relevant experiences. Next, compose a cover letter that serves to introduce you. Include some information that shows you’ve researched the company you’re applying to and how you envision yourself helping them.

Line Up References

Word of mouth has proven to be one of the best forms of advertising, and in this case, the product is you. Reach out to teachers, professors, advisors, former bosses, anyone who can vouch for your reliability, educational achievements, and work ethic. Use this opportunity also to secure a letter of recommendation.

Put Together an Online Profile

Everybody uses social media these days, including recruiters. Some businesses may even require this step, especially if you want an internship in a creative field such as writing or graphic design. If you’re a creative type, you should have an online portfolio where you can showcase your work and give recruiters a first-hand look at what you’re capable of. Showing off your accomplishments is a great way for how to get an internship.

If you don’t have one already, consider creating a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is one of the most popular jobs and career search sites available and the go-to research tool for many recruiters and acquisition professionals.

But, speaking of social media…

Check Your Social Media Footprint

Social media gives the whole internet-using world the chance to get to know you up close and personal. This openness is not always a good thing. Although anything uploaded to the internet is forever, you should still comb through your various social media accounts and see how they look from the perspective of a professional individual looking to recruit someone to work at their company.

The whole point of going through the internship application process is to show a potential employer that you’re a professional who takes the work aspect of their lives seriously enough. You’re making a case for yourself, and you’re showing that you’re intelligent, capable, mature, responsible, and an asset to any organization or business smart enough to bring you on board.

Look through your social media accounts and tone down anything that goes against that impression. Be aware of detrimental things like excessive vulgarity, extreme political views, and generally immature material. And since we all know a picture is worth a thousand words, check your online photos and make sure those thousand words aren’t giving people the impression that you’re a terrible choice!

How to Get an Internship — Search for the Right One

Now that you’ve decided what kind of internship you want, quantified your goals, created material that sums up who you are, and decontaminated your online presence, it’s time to look for the perfect internship. Here are some avenues to check out:

  • Your College.

Most colleges have career sites where interested companies post positions such as internships. You can also meet with your advisor and see if they have any leads. When it comes to internships and job placement, look at your school as one big potential networking opportunity!

  • Job Fairs.

Many companies hold job fairs either at their location, college campuses, or even at relevant conventions. Visit a few, chat with the representatives, take materials such as handouts, and collect a few business cards.

  • The Internet.

Visit sites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, or others. Many of them have excellent search engines that help you narrow down the choices to the right field.

  • The Direct Approach.

Some companies aren’t very keen on reaching out. You must make the first move. Contact businesses and organizations that mesh with your interests and career path.

  • “I Know A Guy Who Knows A Guy.”

Although this is a hit-or-miss proposition, sometimes your friends or family know someone who’s looking for an intern. Don’t rule out the “friends and family” network. It can occasionally surprise you. 

The COVID-19 Dilemma

COVID-19 has turned our world upside down, and that is true for you when you are trying to figure out how to get an internship. The pandemic’s lockdowns and other social distancing measures have been huge game-changers for anyone looking for a job, let alone an internship.

Although COVID vaccines are rolling out fast and distribution is ramping up, we will still be operating in the new normal for the foreseeable future. So, if you’re shooting for an internship during COVID, incorporate these extra steps:

  • See what your school’s policy is in the wake of COVID. Are there still internships available? If so, will they require any special measures, like doing the work remotely? Check out whether internships are even still a thing before starting the whole process.
  • Ask around, especially friends and family, employed acquaintances, and other network contacts, to see who’s hiring and what’s available. COVID networking is crucial.
  • Get checked out and obtain any necessary clearances. This process includes things like background checks, medical history, COVID test results, and vaccine records.

How to Improve the Odds

Although internships are just temporary employee positions, companies still want the right people for the job, candidates who will significantly benefit their business. You can increase your value by boosting your skill set, and Simplilearn’s SkillUp program can give you that advantage. The program is a collection of free courses that lets you explore different skill sets and career opportunities.

These courses focus on different aspects of IT, project and quality management, and much more — skills which play an essential part in succeeding in today’s digital world. Having a robust skill set will set you apart from others. 

So, dust off those resumes, sharpen those skills, and get that internship you’ve been dreaming of. Good luck!

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