How to find the right internship for you
During your communications lecture, you started daydreaming about Manhattan. You could almost feel your heels clicking against the pavement on your way to a magazine office. Once there, you would sit in on editorial meetings and photo shoots, talking to the editors about your hopes and dreams.
This is your dream internship, you just know it. But how do you find it?
Look beyond the obvious
When you think “magazine internship” or whichever type of internship you’re looking for, a few major companies probably come to mind right away. While you may love those companies and you may think they “look good” on your resume, consider the options out there. The most obvious, famous companies in the industry don’t necessarily have the best internship programs. Do some research. Ask around. Talk to advisers at your school. There are so many options out there, but you’ll miss them if you only focus on the big names.
Create a list
Try making a Google Doc of all of the internships that sound intriguing to you. Write the list down on paper if that’s more your style. Whatever you do, just write down anything you find interesting. Once you have your list, start narrowing it down. Think about what you’re looking for in an internship. Hands-on experience? A good location? Nothing is invalid because you’re looking for your internship. Step away from your resume for a minute and disregard what you think will look good on it. Instead, think about what you think will help you grow as a person and as a professional. An internship that helps you grow will naturally give you new skills and qualifications for your resume, so don’t even think about opportunities in terms of what’s best for your resume; choose what you think is best for you!
Narrow it down even more
While, yes, applying for 30 internships may seem like a great way to improve your chances, you will not actually have time to fill out 30 stellar internship applications. Instead, apply for internships that you really can imagine yourself enjoying and learning from. This will not decrease your chances of getting an internship. Instead, it will increase your chances of not only scoring an internship, but scoring one you’re passionate about. In this stage, it’s important to consider factors you may have not considered before, such as affordability. Is the internship worth the cost? Would you be able to afford to relocate? It’s okay to apply for one or two internships that might be slightly out of your price range, because you may find a way to afford it. However, make sure you apply for some internships you know you can afford.
Research the companies
When you created your list, you might not have looked at the companies closely. Now is a good time to do this because it will both help you make the final decision about applying and will help you with a possible future interview. If you realize you don’t like some of the companies as much as you thought, eliminate a couple from your list.
Ultimately, you won’t get the internship if you don’t apply, so once you’ve found some that you’re really interested in, go ahead and apply. If you finish these applications and still have some time to apply for a few more internships, you can apply for a few from your original list or you can reach out to local companies. Local companies may not seem to have what you’re looking for, but you’d be surprised; it’s also a great option to have if other plans don’t work out the way you want. Another option is to apply for summer camp jobs. In order to find the internship or experience that’s right for you, be proactive.
After your research, you may find that you don’t see yourself in Manhattan on the way to a magazine office. That’s OK. What’s important is that you try to choose the internship that you think will be best for you.