Hopefully you’re in the process of making internship plans. Maybe it’s just a thought or maybe you’re fine-tuning the process and making final application tweaks and decisions. Wherever you are in the process, there are still a few pointers that can help you land your ideal internship.
The first step is to do your preliminary research. Figure out your interests and how they relate to your academic major. Then consider where you want to work, what company you want to work for, and what you want to focus on.
Next, it’s time to search the Internet and InternshipFinder.com. Make a list of about 10 companies that meet your basic criteria. Then visit their websites to learn the essential details that will help you decide where you want to apply.
Almost every company offers internships. The first place to check when you visit a company’s website is the Careers Page – sometimes called Employment or Jobs. These links usually appear on the homepage. From the Jobs page, browse around to see if there are any Internship or College Recruiting Links – these are the links that have the best, detailed information about internships.
Companies want to supply you with the details of their programs. Internship or College Recruiting pages will get you the nuts and bolts of the opportunity. It should mention the duration of the internship, fields of interests, departments, pay scales, housing assistance options, job description, any special programs, timeline information, and other perks and benefits. This will be your first chance to weigh the pros and cons. Use it to decide if it is a place where you want to intern.
Some well-designed internship pages host videos of intern life (KPMG), blog entries written by real interns (ESPN), or FAQs (Pixar).
Once you locate the internship listings, click on a few and read them. They are usually written just like they are for full time jobs. They may include a brief job description, requirements, and other pertinent information on how to apply. Somewhere in the job listing should be a link to Apply.
Before you actually apply, research the company, write an appealing cover letter, update your resume, tweak your portfolio, line up your references, and call in any contacts you may have. Do what you need to do to make yourself and your application shine.
Sometimes internships are located on a special Internship or College Recruiting page. Other times you have to search for internship listings that are interspersed with other job listings. For some companies you have to set up a profile to have opportunities emailed to you.
Almost all internships require you to apply online. It makes the whole process easy and streamlined. It’s smart to apply to several internships because you won’t always get your top choice. The more applications you send in, the more options you will.
A Waiting Game
After you apply, you should get some sort of confirmation, possibly via email. There may be a waiting period before you find out if you get the internship. Some companies require interviews, transcripts, essays, or additional information. You’ll have to play the game and jump through the hoops. Do so eagerly and excitedly. If you do a good job it could lead to an internship and a full time career down the road.
Some companies say on their websites that if you are not selected, you may not hear back at all (ESPN). Realize that internships are highly competitive and that’s just part of it.
Once you have an internship confirmation, make sure that you, the company, and your college are on the same page as what to expect. You may need to write an internship proposal to tie up any loose ends and ensure college credit. Cover all the details and make the most of your internship.
A Real Life Example
Let’s walk through the steps on how to apply for an internship with Pixar:
The Internet makes it easy to find, apply, and get internships. But you do need to make sure that you do your research and understand the details. Internships are fantastic learning opportunities.
Plan ahead and you’ll enjoy the experience.