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How to Start Your Internship Search

What are you looking to learn and what are you willing to offer? The Public Speaker shares some questions to ask yourself before applying for internships.

By
Lisa B. Marshall,

How to Start Your Internship Search

First, it’s important to define what it is that you are looking to gain from your experience. Do you primarily need money? Do you most want writing experience? Do you primarily want social media experience? Do you want to work remotely? Locally? Do you want to work for the company upon graduation? It’s important to define exactly what you are looking for so that you can articulate your goals clearly, concisely, and in a compelling manner. Think aggressively, but also realistically.

Next, write a short, compelling document that explains why someone should hire you. If you’re an exceptionally fast learner, then mention that.  Do you have previous experience in the field? Then mention that. Are you extremely motivated to learn? Are you an independent, hard-working person? Have you won any awards? Did you complete an interesting project as part of your classwork? Especially if you are seeking a paid internship, you’ll likely need to prove your value and abilities. And even if you are looking for an unpaid internship, you'll need to convince the hiring manager that you will provide real value and not just suck up their time teaching you how to do stuff.  (Sounds harsh? Maybe, but it's reality).

To be clear, even unpaid interns cost money!! "Green" employees generally require significant time and attention from staff — time they could be dedicating to getting their own work done.

So ask yourself: Are you willing to accept an unpaid position?  What kind of hours are you interested in and able to work? Are you looking to be mentored? Are you looking to just get your feet wet? Will you also be in school while you are working? These are all questions you need to ask and answer before searching for a part-time job or internship. And don’t forget to get feedback from anyone you know and trust. Sometimes your friends know a lot more about you then you would think.

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