3 steps to finding your Ideal Internship

Posted by | July 19, 2013 | Tips for Interns

It can be difficult to find your ideal internship. There are so many internships available in all areas and companies. It is a big sea out there and it is very easy to drown in it.

Don’t let this overwhelm you. Take your time looking for the right internship for you. Follow these 3 steps and start your journey to finding your ideal internship.

1. Be clear of your goals.

Before you start your search you need to be clear on what your goals are. What do you want to gain and learn from your internship?

Take time to reflect on this. Write your goals down, and keep them beside you during your search, this will keep your mind focused and you will be less likely to go of track. Sometimes thinking of your goals can cause your brain to go blank so consider answering the following;

  • What are your career interests?

An internship is a great way to help define your future career goals. You may be interested in a broad subject area and you don’t know what your area of expertise will be yet. An internship can help you figure out a specific area in your subject, that you would like to work in. Consider applying for different areas within your qualification in order to help you decide what is best for you.

  • Why do you want an internship?

This could have multiple answers. This can include learning new skills, getting experience, gaining network connections and as an entry point that could lead to a full time job.

  • What kind of companies are you interested in ?

Just like people companies come in all shapes and sizes, big, small, non-profit and so on. Is there a specific type of company you want to work for?

You should also think about the answers to more generic questions like;

In what location do you want your internship? and will you consider both paid and unpaid internships?

2. Your Search

Be consistent. Searching for the right internship takes time, you will not always get reply’s and if you do it may not be immediately.

So be consistent on when and where you search. Check listings for new postings each Sunday and Thursday for example. ( these are the most common posting days). Keep Track of everything you are applying for so when you do get a reply you will remember which company it is for.

Upload a generic CV to online career services. A lot of companies may look for interns themselves as well as waiting for people to apply. So upload your CV to online services such as Xperience.ie and increase your chances of finding an internship.

3. Review the Responsibilities and Qualifications for each position

Once you have found available internships make sure you review the responsibilities and qualifications. This is an important part to finding your ideal internship. By doing this you can get a feel for what kind of work you will be doing and what kind of experience you will gain from it. This will also help you avoid applying for internships that do not interest you. It will save you a lot of time and will ensure that the internship you choose will benefit you.

Look at each position and see-

  • What responsibilities will you have that will help you learn new skills? and how do these responsibilities add to the value of an organisation?
  • Will you have an opportunity to work as part of a group or independently?
  • Will you meet people who will be a valuable network for your professional growth? (will you make professional connections?)
  • Will your supervisor/people you work with be in  positions that you would like to have at some point in your future career? Could they act as mentors for you after this opportunity?
  • Does the organization offer any opportunities to become a full time employee?

Follow these 3 steps and you will be well on your way to finding your ideal internship. If you have any other advice or suggestions please comment below.

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