An internship is the first step towards a career. Not only do you learn on the job and get paid while exploring new career possibilities, you also will gain first-hand experience of the American work culture. Whether you are considering an internship in the next couple years or actively looking for one now, here are some helpful advice to get you started.
Use Your Network
Your network can be very valuable to you in your internship search. Connect with other students or working professionals, online or in person. If you are connecting with other students, be sure to search for opportunities for yourself and them. While the job hunt can be a competition, it can also be a team effort. If you are connecting with a professional like a recruiter or someone already in your ideal job, ask them questions about what it is like to work at their company and what they like about their job. Ideally, you want to use this time to get to know them, their company, and make sure that the everything in your ideal role is what you actually want. You will learn a lot from conversations like this.
LinkedIn and your college’s career website will aid you in finding your internship. Talk with a campus advisor about internship options. You can also reach out to the alumni network of your school. Alumni are often happy to give advice.
Search for Companies
The companies that you want to apply to are the ones that need people with your skill sets. You can also begin searching for positions at companies that you know. There are many companies however that you may have never heard of, but could be a good fit for you. Using websites like LinkedIn and your college’s career website will help you explore these opportunities. And applying at multiple companies that offer you relevant experience improves your odds of landing a good internship.
Build a Resume
Build a resume that reflects your skills clearly and accurately. Proofread it then show it to your friends, colleagues, and any mentors so that they can provide objective feedback. You want to make your resume tailored for the job you are applying to by listing any relevant skills and experiences. Be aware that submitting your resume for a job will vary from company to company.
As the employer reviews your resume, you want to begin preparing for an interview. Be prepared to discuss your interest in the company as well as the relevance of that internship to your major and future plans.
Make Sure You Have The Right Documents (International Students)
If you are an international student, you want to know the forms and authorizations you need to legally accept work. For example, if you need CPT, a curricular practical training, give yourself some time to be approved. Unfortunately, not all companies are looking to hire international students. Companies will often screen applicants to see if they are an international student or not. If a company does not hire an international student, rarely will they make an exception. Apply for internships that are willing to hire international students. When in doubt, consult your university’s ISS office. They help students with this process every year.
Good luck on finding a summer internship. It is a difficult process for all students, and if you do not find one, it is not the end of your professional career. Keep applying until you find the right job for you.