Going through the daily grind of college, including classes, studying, writing papers, joining clubs, part-time work, dealing with roommate situations, and new relationships can seem like a full-time gig.
And suddenly, it is time to think about the next available steps and the future you want to create. After you have your diploma in hand, where do you want to start your career? Will you go into business for yourself? Do you want to join a large corporate entity? Maybe work for a small non-profit organization?
Before we start rushing into life after college, let’s focus on an important current goal for juniors and seniors: getting an internship. It’s time to start thinking about internships, what type of environment you would like to work in, if it will be paid or unpaid, and the location. You might end up working full-time for the same company you intern for, so it’s important to decide if you want to live in your college town, a brand new place, or perhaps move home where you can live with your parents. You might also consider the finances involved with where you want to live and if it is feasible for your budget.
Feeling overwhelmed? Here is a guide outlining how to get an internship in 2022:
Decide what field, companies, and career interests you
Where to begin? What kind of company are you looking for? What interests do you have that you would like to explore?
As much as an internship is a great way to get work experience for your resume, it is also an opportunity for you to check out a company, as well as explore the career you are considering to get a taste of what is involved, how things operate, and if it is a fit for your desires and your personality. This can give you a solid glimpse into what is available and offers a short-term commitment into the career world you are considering and the pros and cons involved.
Start by making a list of the types of jobs within your field that you are considering. From there, make another list of all the companies near you or a city you would be willing to temporarily move or commute to. Research each of the companies to get a feel for their corporate environment and look at job listings to find the position that you desire. You can also gauge what the salary offerings of a full-time position might be like in the future.
Know when to apply
The general rule of thumb is to apply approximately 6 months in advance for an internship. However, the length of time and process involved differs based on if it is paid or unpaid, if you will be getting school credit for the internship, the career field involved, and if you will need any special clearances or testing completed beforehand.
Be sure to research and keep track of the deadlines for the application process, as they can vary by company. Some internships will need to receive an application a semester or two in advance, while others you can jump on board with as little as a month's notice.
The college career center is an excellent valuable resource to help you prepare for and research the best opportunities.
Different types of internships
The two most common choices of internships available: Those that pay you for your time and work, and those that are offering experience in exchange for your work.
Paid internships are more sought after and can be very competitive. To obtain a paid internship, be aware of the application deadline, be prepared to produce a professional resume with a cover letter, and be prepared for some stiff competition.
Networking and being familiar with people who work at the company you are interested in can give you a leg up in getting your resume and application looked at. It’s important to follow up after networking conversations and make contact with people online, via LinkedIn or email. You can also utilize the people you know that have connections at a certain company. A personal referral from a professor or family friend with connections at the company can be an effective way to get your application in the pile for consideration.
Unpaid internships can be a great experience to learn about the field and the company, and a way to get your foot in the door if the company is one you might consider for full-time employment. Ensure the company has a solid reputation to avoid any potential unsavory experiences.
While an unpaid internship may be a financial struggle, it can pay off by providing necessary experience and putting you ahead of the competition when it comes to searching for a position in the future. An unpaid internship can be a stepping stone to securing a highly paid position, which definitely pays off in the long run and is worth your time.
Internships for College Credit
The college decides if an internship is eligible for college credit, so be sure to check with your college’s career center to find out the requirements that need to be met to receive college credit for the time spent working at a participating company. There may be evaluations and reports that managers may have to fill out, and the work completed should be in line with what you are learning in the classroom. While you may not be paid for your work, earning college credit for the learning experience is a way to be compensated for the time and effort spent on the internship and work put into the experience.
Tips for applying, picking, choosing between
- Create a new email address that can be used for internships and future job searching, ensuring it is a professional email address.
- Create a resume that is specific for each potential employer, tailoring it to match the industry and uniqueness and requirements of each company.
- In addition to the resume, include a professional cover letter, and do your research so you can address it to a specific person at the company by name, and not a generic ‘sir or madam’.
- Include any skills or experiences that highlight why you would be a unique candidate for the internship and any other special qualities that you might want to share.
- When you have secured an interview, be prepared to ask questions about the internship, what it will entail, what a typical day will look like, and what the corporate environment is like at the company. Dress professionally, be confident, and be yourself!
- If you do not yet have a Linkedin profile, create one and update it with your resume, a current picture, and the requested information. LinkedIn is an often overlooked tool that can open up potential companies and industries that you may not have been aware of.
- Utilize your resources - find employees at a company you are curious about, message them via LinkedIn, let them know of your career aspirations, and ask if they have some time for a few questions. Feel free to ask them about their experience at the company, if they are aware of any opportunities, or if they can offer you any advice or tips. While some may feel inconvenienced by the contact, others will gladly offer any information or assistance they can to a potential new co-worker and offer to give you a hand in securing necessary information.
- Like Linkedin, check out other websites that may have internships available, such as Indeed, InternshipFinder, Google, and Glassdoor.
Check for on-campus opportunities
Join clubs and other groups that fit your interests. The clubs may offer internships on campus or have the ability to work around your class schedule or be aware of companies offering internships that may not be offered to the public.
Keep an eye at your college’s career center for any internship opportunities that might open up and be specific for your college and focus of study. Take advantage of Sunrise Village's proximity to the BYU-Idaho campus to find some great local internship opportunities!