How to get an internship

Feb. 15, 2021

In many cases, when starting or changing careers, it can be a good idea to look for internships to experience daily life in a job, make first industry connections, and get hands-on experience in a topic.

How to get an internship

But getting internships in the first place can be challenging. Ask anyone who has looked for an internship, and they’ll tell you one thing: finding the perfect one can be difficult, but it was worth it.

At MentorCruise, our internship mentors understand that internships are significant for almost everyone’s career. In this article, they share some insights on how to get an internship. You’ll learn:

  • What is an internship?
  • Benefits of an internship.
  • How to find an internship.
  • How to ask for an internship.
  • How to get an internship.
  • How to get a college internship.

What Exactly Is An Internship?

An internship is a program provided to students at universities by hiring managers, enabling them to either work full or part-time.

There are several reasons why an internship is not only advantageous but important for a college student and/ or aspiring employee.

Benefits Of Internship: Why Should I Get A College Internship?

The benefits of internships cannot be overemphasized. It can provide a priceless experience that establishes a strong professional foundation as you begin your career journey. This can mean a higher earning potential, greater opportunities upon graduation, and a network of connections to leverage for years to come. You can connect with industry experts that can act as excellent references or even potential employers while serving as an intern.

Gain experience that you can’t learn in a classroom

No matter how much your tutors try, they cannot teach hands-on work experience. You have the opportunity to experience a job’s day-to-day activities with an internship while also mastering soft skills such as teamwork and good communication.

You’ll possibly also learn creating programs specific to a particular job title. For instance, during your internship, you may realize that you want to concentrate on a particular career path that your instructors only touched on during your college coursework.

You’ll also learn the important tools and processes that are important in your career. Whether this is using different email tools or having practical hands-on experience of a tool you’ve been using in your studies, you’ll have better knowledge of how your job actually functions as opposed to relying upon theory.

If you have done a professional degree program such as an online MBA, getting an internship opportunity becomes a little easier for you. Companies usually prefer hiring interns with strong educational backgrounds.

Give yourself a leg up in the job market.

One of the essential advantages of an internship is that you can be set apart by your job experience from other college graduates. You would possibly need less preparation and will be trusted to assume additional responsibilities.

You’ll also work through any kinks in a full-time job that wouldn’t otherwise be appropriate. Employers tend to be more compassionate with interns, for instance, so it is more appropriate to make errors than hired employees.

The best way to learn is to learn from your mistakes, so don’t be afraid to ask questions during your internship, so you can finally prove your worth as a full-time employee.

Network in your field with other professionals

It’s less about what you know sometimes than about who you know. An internship offers you access to experts in your field and an opportunity to make a lasting impact on them.

These ties can end up leading to a promising career.

If the organization wants to hire you after you graduate, you can also switch from an intern to an employee. Some companies use internships before recruiting them as a way to “test out” employees.

With all the benefits that internship experiences come with, you might be wondering how you can find one. It takes some time and preparation, but in the end, the payoff is worth it. Here are some helpful tips from our internship mentors for finding the best internship.

How to Find Internships

Start your hunt early on.

Understand that internships do not start and finish according to your timetable or what is convenient for you. Many businesses have early deadlines and start hiring every year on a strict timetable.

Don’t procrastinate. It will help to consult with your college or university and see what they suggest and provide you with their understanding of the deadlines set by those organizations with which they operate regularly.

Define your career path in general terms

Don’t be too specific with your career. It would be best to have a general understanding of what you want for a career. Internships will enable you to narrow your career path further. Only focus on what you love to do, your passions, and what you are good at. You probably did this anyway when picking your major and minor.

Realize that you can always change your focus after graduating if you choose an internship in a career direction you believe you don’t want. So never quit your internship. Even if you hate it, go there every day with an ambitious, professional attitude. Never have your bridges destroyed.

Network with everyone that you can

Getting an internship might seem tough, but it does help to get the word out. Tell your family, fellow students/colleagues, teachers, and your advisor that you are looking for an internship. When they hear about possibilities, they are more likely to keep you at the forefront of their minds.

Brush up your skills

You may understand that they are looking for someone who has at least a little knowledge of a particular subject or program when reading the different descriptions for internships. Maybe it’s been a while since you used Google Sheets, but for a specific internship opportunity you have your eye on, there is heavy Sheets use. To put your best foot forward in the job, take some time to brush up on Sheets with a fast online refresher course.

Employ internship search, check websites, and attend job fairs

You can search for sites like internships.com or google internships for top results.

Make sure to add your location to sharpen your search; internships near me or internships in Florida will perform the magic. You may want to go through the list of the best internship websites below.

  • Browse Daily Job Boards such as Indeed Monster or Glassdoor. This way, you may filter for your dream internship neighborhood: New York City, San Francisco, Washington, DC.
  • Go to Job Fairs. This sounds outdated. Well! That’s the reason most graduates shun them and why you’ll stand out if you don’t. Go late to the event to get more time with employers.
  • Visit a Local Career Center and talk with career counselors—they’ll guide you on all there is to know about internship openings in your area. Also, you can always count on free advice on the most suitable career paths to pick.

Communicate directly with employers

You may have already imagined a dream career in your head. If so, simply contact them and ask if they are offering any internships. But if you do this, be equipped with an ‘elevator pitch’ - something that lasts about 30 seconds and explains briefly why you should be taken on as an intern.

Do not hesitate to contact companies through various communication channels, such as email, and even social media. To see if they are still posting their internship details there, follow any companies you would like to work for on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Is there a particular way to ask for an internship? Well, yes! The following tips will guide you on how to go about that.

How to Ask for an Internship

  • Find the right people. First, know how to locate an internship coordinator. Utilize LinkedIn’s advanced people search to find out who manages internships at the organization you desire to work for.
  • Ask respectfully. Hiring managers are almost always busy. Respect their time by understanding how to email them.
  • Be brief and sweet. Don’t ramble on. If they say they don’t have any, thank them for their time. You can still turn a “no” into a different opening by asking for other relevant opportunities.

How to Get an Internship

While unpaid internships start fading away due to most companies offering a small starting salary, you’ll have to think about what you’re looking for before reaching out to companies. Are you ready to do an unpaid internship? How long would you like the internship to last? Are there opportunities nearby? Are you looking for a full-time position after?

All these questions will determine what to look out for.

  • If you are looking for paid positions only, it can be challenging for managers to allocate budgets for unplanned internships, so cold emailing will worsen.
  • While most internships are three months long, many companies will extend it to six months if you are doing a good job. Everything over that is usually too long.
  • Most managers won’t bother talking about relocation and visa sponsorships for internships. If you can, look for something nearby or something you can get to in an acceptable commute.
  • Be sure to clarify that you are available after the internship for a full-time position, but don’t expect them to hire you.

Looking in the open

Now you know what you are looking for, so it’s time to get looking. Apply to publicly announced positions with your CV. This is a time where quantity might count over quality: Get your name out as much and fast as possible. You should apply to every suiting internship around you.

Speaking about getting your name out: Search publicly. Post on LinkedIn and other social networks that you are looking for and what your terms are. You’ll be surprised about how many companies could use an intern.

Need help with your CV or career development? Feel free to reach out to one of our mentors

If you’re lucky, you might already be close to getting an internship.

Cold Emailing

Against popular belief, cold emailing to ask for internships can work - especially at big companies. But you need to find the right contact person.

Try to find a manager, hiring contact, or HR person of a company near you and reach out to them directly. You need to refine your message before you click send. Be sure that your mail is appropriately formatted, free of typos, respectful, and explains exactly who you are.

For reference, this message was sent from our Founder to a Vice President at NVIDIA. Just weeks later, he got an internship there.

Hey [redacted], I wondered if there are any internship positions open at your Zurich offices? I’m currently doing Udacity’s SDCND and DLFND [info: contact new about these programs] and mentoring new students there and looking for an opportunity to work in Deep Learning after this summer.

Not a perfect message by any means, but short, casual, and sympathetic.

Interviewing & Offers

Let’s assume the previous steps worked out perfectly. What now? The chances are that you might need to decide between multiple interviews and offers. When making an internship decision, keep these pointers in mind.

  • When it comes to money vs. learning, try to tend towards learning. It’ll pay off later on a lot more!
  • Try to choose a company with a known name - it’ll open doors after.
  • It’s only temporary - so don’t turn things down due to organizational things (e.g., a long commute)
  • Put in extra effort - you’ll get to work on more projects and do more exciting things.

Get an internship with MentorCruise.

Although the decision of whether or not you’re an employee relies on different factors, it may depend largely or entirely on your internship experience.

After graduating college, don’t assume that finding a job will be easy. Many employers want someone who has the expertise to be employed. Yet, without a job, you will not get experience. This is why an internship is so precious. It allows you to apply to your resume at least a little bit of experience, making you stand out from other recent graduates.

So if you’re looking for an internship or lucky enough to have one already_get the most out of the training/experience by finding a mentor. At MentorCruise, our internship mentors will not only help ensure that you pick the perfect program but also guarantee that your internship is a success.

What can mentorship do for you?

Our 'state of mentorship' report sums up the benefits, reports and effects that mentorship has on the modern working environment.

App screenshot