Depending on how you are choosing to start your career, whether it be through secondary education or beginning your business on your own, an internship brings valuable knowledge to your career pursuits.
An internship can provide you experience for your resume, networking, real-world education as well as the pros and cons to decide whether this field is right for you.
How can you get your hands on an internship? Many high-profile internships are highly coveted and must be received just like with a job; application, waiting, interview, waiting and potentially no response.
Below are three ways to find an internship that’s right for you without the crazy red tape you’ll face in the corporate or more formal world.
If you are pursuing a degree most schools now have a career services department that can help you get your hands on internships, even some of the coveted positions in high companies previously mentioned.
If your school requires you to complete an internship before graduation, don’t wait until its time to take that class to connect with your career services.
Start the relationship when you start school. Building this connection may show them you are serious about your career and they will be more serious with helping you find the right position, not just a position to fill a class requirement.
If you are not a student, check with local community colleges anyway to see if their career services department is open to the public. Some community colleges, especially those in districts that provide taxpayers dollars to fund the school, try to give back to the community and may aid you in finding an internship as well.
Start by checking with local nonprofits. Cultural centers, libraries, poverty relief organizations or assisted living centers can all be good locations to start your internship search.
Try to aim local when looking at nonprofits. Nationally based nonprofits sometimes still come with all the red tape that high-end corporations do when looking for interns.
Smaller more localized nonprofits are used to working with a lot of smaller budgets and are in need of volunteers all the time. Smaller nonprofits are also usually more accessible, allowing you to meet with members of the staff easier than their high-level counterparts.
Setting up a meeting with a director or human resources can give you the opportunity to explain what you’re looking for and ultimately design an internship that fits your needs and what you would like to be involved in.
Speaking of volunteering, this is also a great way to receive experience in a variety of fields. It may not be as formal as an internship but can be found the same way, through nonprofits and community outreach.
Sometimes volunteering can grow into something greater including an internship or just give you the hands-on experience you would like to weigh the pros and cons of the industry.
If you are aiming for a nonprofit that is of a higher caliber and much harder to get into, try volunteering with them.
Building that relationship prior to the request of an internship will not only tell them who you are but will give them firsthand experience with your personality and what you are capable of. In some cases, this proven skill might even lead to an actual paid position with the company later on.
Regardless of how you are starting your career, secondary education or your own business, hands-on experience is essential to learning what it is you want to do with your career by helping you weigh the pros and cons, networking and gaining insight that a classroom or textbook can’t provide.
Using your local educational facilities, small nonprofits and volunteering your skills and time, finding an internship can be much easier than the hurdle jumping and red tape you’ll have to face going a more formal route.
Be sure to step up and receive everything you can out of your internship, regardless of how you received it. Paid or unpaid, the skills you learn here will follow your career for a lifetime.