College students and recent graduates are often encouraged to participate in internships to expand their experience, apply what they’ve learned in school, or even make some extra money. While paid and unpaid internships are a great chance for college students to get some hands-on training in a field they’re interested in, internships are also a great opportunity for high school students. They can see first-hand how certain jobs are done, meet professionals in industries they’re interested in, and experience new things while working with smart and motivated experts. If you or your student is interested in finding internships, we can help. Whether you’re trying to find internships for over the summer, for a work-study program, or for after graduation, finding internships doesn’t have to be incredibly difficult or time-consuming. Here are some of the best ways we’ve found to help students who are interested in finding internships.
What Do Students Need to Know About Internships?
Before you begin searching for an internship, there are some things you need to know and decide about. Internships can last for as long as a year or for as short as just a few weeks, so knowing the length you’re looking for is important. Some internships are paid while others are not, and some you may even have to pay to participate in. The type and length of internship you’re looking for will likely depend on the field you’re searching in and why you want the internship. Is it for a work-study program that lasts a whole semester or the entire school year? Is it for a short-term project for a class? Is it something to occupy your time during the summer? Is it a stepping stone into a career? Knowing these things and having an idea of what you’re looking for will help as you begin your search.
When Should Students Start Looking for Internships?
Your timeline will depend on why and when you want an internship, but the general rule of thumb is that it’s never too early to start looking. Application deadlines will vary based on the length and purpose of the internship, so the sooner you begin looking, the better off you’ll be.
What Kind of Internship Should Students Look for?
This will depend on the field you’re interested in. If you want to be a nurse, you may intern at a hospital or health clinic. If you want to be a teacher, you may intern at a summer camp or in a school. You could intern at an office for a variety of businesses, you may work side by side the employees of a nonprofit organization, or you may be able to intern abroad or in another city in a variety of industries.
Look at Your Personal Network
This may apply slightly more to college students or recent graduates, but high school students can think about their network when looking for an internship. Consider teachers, family friends, parents’ coworkers, and more. Especially if the student has an idea of the industry or field they’re wanting an internship in, looking to people you know personally is a great way to get your foot in the door somewhere. Friends from church or a sports team, a relative, or the parent of a friend may know about some internships at their company that could be perfect for your high school student. Finding internships is often about “right time, right place” kind of situations, so be sure to talk to people you know personally before moving to the other suggestions.
Utilize the Internet
High school students especially are aware of the internet being an incredibly valuable resource. Finding internships online can be quite successful provided you know where to look. Students should never give out their personal information online to an untrustworthy source or to a website or individual who doesn’t have proper credentials. A google search is a great way to start finding internships, but there are several websites that are known for helping students find the perfect internships as well. Sites like Glassdoor, Internships.com, InternMatch.com, YouTern, Idealist, CoolWorks, and Global Experiences are some great places to start. Most of these sites list available internships and students can create a profile and apply. Some students may find great success on LinkedIn, where they can create a professional profile and connect with individuals in their industry or field of interest. LinkedIn is also great because you can include personal and professional recommendations, volunteer work, and job experience on your profile, and you can see who knows who within your network to increase your chances of landing the perfect internship.
Connect with Professionals in Your Industry
You may not be quite “in” your industry yet, but if you can, begin connecting with those in your preferred field as soon as possible. This may begin with you volunteering your services at a local office, or it may include you asking a professional for advice on how to succeed in a particular industry. Anything you can do to be around people who are doing what you hope to do one day will increase your success rates both now and in the future. Finding internships and getting jobs are often about who you know and what you know, so building a network of professionals within the industry you’re interested in will only serve you both now and well into the future.
College Websites and Job Boards
Your school or a local college may have job boards or forums where companies can recruit students for internships. Be sure to search for some of these or ask fellow students or neighbors about how they found internships. If you know where you want to intern, such as at a local school or company, consider going directly to their website to search for job or internships opportunities.