In today’s job market, internships are an essential part of building your resume. You may picture high school and college students when you think about internships, but they’re useful for other professionals, too. In fact, they might be a good opportunity for you. Trying to get in the door with a specific company? Many corporations groom interns to be promising candidates for full-time positions. Already have work experience, but you’re entering a new industry? Relevant on-the-job training is a crucial step.
Whether you’re new to the job market and need to build your resume, or you’re looking to build your skillset in a specific industry or field, there are many benefits of internships. And no matter what type of internship you want, the best ways to look for and land your dream gig are similar. Here’s how to get an internship.
1. Network online
The first step to getting an internship is to make sure you have an online presence — and that it’s professional and useful. Internship websites like WayUp are a great resource. WayUp is entirely free and has thousands of unique internships for students to browse. You’ll create a personal dashboard, which is like your “profile.” You can attach resumes, save positions you’re interested in, keep track of application deadlines, and apply to internships straight from the site. Internships are also searchable by category, city, company, as well as paid or unpaid positions.
LinkedIn is also one of the most up-to-date websites for anyone looking for an internship. The Student Job Portal has tons of internship postings, and you can search by a job role or review postings from featured companies. LinkedIn is also an excellent platform for networking: Recruiters from top companies use it to search for the best new talent. You’ll want to create a profile that grabs their attention and thoroughly highlights all of your relevant experience.
Experience doesn’t have to be paid or full-time to be on your profile or resume. Include completed coursework, projects, achievements, organizations, extracurricular activities, certifications, volunteer work, and jobs that have given you real-world skills. As for photos, privacy, and other concerns, check out our tips for cleaning up your social media profile.
2. Network in real life
We know that much of life is lived online these days, but it’s still important to meet people face to face. Landing an internship can be all about your connections, and many businesses use job fairs and networking events to look for future employees. In-person networking is a top tip for how to get an internship with no experience, too. At these events, companies are more interested in hearing about school-related experience and future career goals. Networking in real life offers them an opportunity to quickly evaluate if you’d be a good fit — and offers you an opportunity to get ahead of the competition.
Job fairs will often be advertised online, and you can also inquire about them at your local city’s chamber of commerce. Professional networking is integral to making industry connections, so you’ll want to make sure you prepare for your networking event. Also, bring an updated resume highlighting all your recent coursework and volunteer experience.
3. Think of it like a job
Even unpaid internships provide you with invaluable experience and the chance to learn new skills — so you should take them as seriously as you would take a job. Make sure your resume is up to date and professional, and uses proven words and phrases that will make you stand out from the crowd.
The internship application process also includes developing a cover letter, providing a list of professional and personal references, an interview, and following up after the interview. You’ll go through these same procedures when you apply for any future jobs, which is another reason why applying to an internship will benefit you professionally.
4. Dream big
You’re not the only one wondering how to get an internship at Google, but if you work hard — and perhaps take some smaller jobs first — nothing is out of reach. Whether your internship is at the local paper or the New York Times, always go above and beyond. Learn as much as possible, and take on as many new tasks as you can. You’ll have a strong reference for the future, and you’ll likely be considered for a permanent position as well, if one is available. Next stop: Dream job!
Are internships worth it? Definitely! You’ll get to practice the application and interview process, plus gain professional experience that you can put on your resume. If you need an internship, check out courses like our Resume Writing Workshop or Twelve Steps to a Successful Job Search. Or, improve skills like communication or writing — you can put these courses on your resume, too! Put in the work, and you’ll get a huge reward.