If you're a current student, you may be wondering what your career – and budget – will look like after you graduate. Will the hours of study prove worthwhile? Internships can be the perfect opportunity to discover your passions, budget expectations, and future goals before starting a full-time job.
COVID-19 has impacted students around the world, and graduates from the job market will enter. Events, meetings and learning opportunities have changed drastically compared to what we know as normal. Although the landscape has changed this year, many companies are still looking for employees.
Paid internships can be a great way for students to think about money management while gaining real-life experiences that help them in the job market. In addition, a study found that 81 percent of graduates said internships had helped them achieve their professional interests. Not to mention that internship experience could raise your expectations for entry-level salary after college.
Find an internship that suits your passion and budget by using our guide below! Visit our infographic or read on for complete instructions on how to get an internship that will benefit you and your wallet.
Where can I find internships?
Search for jobs online
Finding a job can be an arduous process. Different titles, job descriptions and opportunities are available in each industry. Start your search by focusing on what you want to do after college, then expand your search to related titles and industries. With this in mind, sign up for the top job posting websites. Some checkout resources are:
Since only 27 percent of college students get jobs related to their major, it's important to have a broad network. Internships are for students who want to dip their toes in the water and see what options they have.
As you browse your top selection, review compensation rates to assess the impact on your budget. If the postings do not state whether they are paid for, continue your research. There are online resources like Indeed or Glassdoor that can give you a better idea.
Use campus resources
Use the numerous resources on your college campus to find an internship that suits you. Visit your career center's online job ad to find out what opportunities are waiting for you. If you cannot find exactly what you are looking for, contact the staff at your career center. They may be able to help you find a paid internship near you.
Another great way to find internship guides is to attend career fairs on campus. Set yourself the goal of attending one or two personal or virtual events per semester to expand your network. You may come across an opportunity that is specific to your college's expertise that you would not otherwise have found. Find out about our most important ways of using your school's career center:
Visit your College Career Center every month.
Talk to professionals in your major.
Attend one or two career fairs per semester.
Connect over the network
Actively expand your network before you are ready to improve your job search. Meet your classmates and university staff at job fairs or networking events. This can mean meeting others at virtual or personal events, or connecting via LinkedIn.
If you're feeling ambitious, contact industry leaders to schedule information interviews. Send them a few dollars for coffee or lunch as you video chat and ask questions about an internship or a specific career. Write down the expert tips to ensure that your internship is successful. Additional ways to expand and use your network:
Attend one or two campus networking events to meet industry professionals in your area.
Do not schedule information interviews longer than 15 minutes to know their time.
What to do before you apply
Now that you may know the industries and companies you want to apply to, it's time to do it. Set up your resume and cover letter strategically. Check out our top application tips below.
Find the right time to apply
The application can be nerve-wracking and time-consuming. It takes an average of five months to find a job. You can apply for numerous internships before you find the right fit. If you want a paid summer internship, apply months in advance to meet your summer budget goals.
In most cases, it is recommended to apply at least six months before your possible start date. Some internships are arranged a few months before the start date, but may not be paid. If you are looking for a paid summer internship, look for vacancies from October.
Clean up your online presence
Many recruiters conduct a media audit for their applicants. You want to get a better representation of yourself and your interests. Make sure your profiles are up to date and show off your skills and expertise.
If you don't want your personal accounts to appear, put them in private mode. Even consider having two accounts – one for work and one for personal use. If you submit your resume online, include your professional media links such as LinkedIn or Facebook in your resume.
Diversify your efforts
When you apply for paid internships, you are likely to face many qualified applicants. Differentiate yourself by diversifying your skills to show that you are ready for new and unique challenges. Explain your educational journey through the many achievements you have achieved similar to these:
Management positions (club president or designated project manager).
Interesting hobbies (photography, sports or art projects).
Measurable side projects (start of your own website or your own YouTube channel).
Shed light on your proudest class projects and the best results and feedback you deserve. Concentrate on your communication and team skills. Since these are the key skills recruiters are looking for, adding these skills to your resume can add an extra boost.
Customize your resume and cover letter
Since you have a comprehensive idea of your strengths, skills and successes, it is time to put them on paper. Organize your college, career and accumulated skills, experience, and achievements in different sections. Add any numerical values associated with your achievements if you can. For example, add your project test results or your total number of academic projects completed each year. This gives recruiters an idea of how you could be an asset and what income they could offer you.
Organize your test results and top skills by topic. Use active verbs when listing the projects you've worked on. If you are in a club on campus, state what you have worked on and what positive feedback you have received.
Show your real interest in the company in your cover letter. Mark your mission statement and your values. Then show them why and how you are aligning with your mission. Dive deep into your media accounts and website to highlight other important results. You will appreciate the additional research you put into getting to know your business.
Read the application instructions again
After you've put all the hard work into creating a sophisticated resume, you don't want it to be wasted clicking the wrong button. Read the application guidelines before creating your resume and read them again before submitting your application. This shows your outstanding attention to detail and value as a paid intern.
Many companies even have screening exams before applying. If they allow you, read the instructions a few times before you start. You may be timed and may not be able to return to reading again before starting your exam.
How to conduct a successful interview
You have done hard work and now it is time to schedule an interview. You may have marked a callback and meeting in the calendar. However, this does not mean that you won the job. It's time to open your notebook and perfect interview questions just like your budget.
Research the company thoroughly
First, find out about the company you are applying for. This shows the hiring manager that you've done your homework. Understand exactly what they are doing, how their company was founded and how your skills can benefit them. The more you prove yourself, the more your earnings potential could increase.
Brainstorm questions during the research to interview your respondents. If they have told you how many people are participating in your interview and who they are, use this information. Go to LinkedIn, visit the company's employee page, or just google their names. Find out how everyone affects this company and what questions you want to ask them.
Practice general interview questions
After you have completed your research, it is time to start practicing for the interview. There are plenty of free online resources outlining the key questions recruiters ask and why. Print out questionnaires, write down your answers and practice them until they are perfect.
Take it upon yourself to research industry-specific interview questions, and then schedule sham interviews with your friends and professionals at your university's resource center. You can give expert advice on how to prepare your answers and what salary rates are expected.
Put the part on
37 percent of interviewers said that appearance and style are a key differentiator when deciding whether someone is suitable for the job. Dress like a pro, whether your video or personal interview is planned. Note that your interview attire may vary in different industries. Search the company's website and media accounts to determine how formal workwear can be. If you still can't find a clear answer, call Human Resources to make sure you're choosing the right parts.
Present your best to make your first impression. Put on comfortable clothes that suit you. Make sure you dampen your crumpled clothing and polish your leather shoes to show your love of detail.
Master your body language
It only takes three seconds to make a good (or bad) impression. From the start, interviewers analyze how you wear and present yourself. To make your interview more effective, exude confidence by keeping eye contact and avoid fidgeting.
Always sit up straight and gesture to a minimum. Smile and nod if it feels right to show your real interests in the conversation. Don't forget to thank them for their time!
Submit a thoughtful follow-up
You may already have thanked you when you left your interview, but it doesn't hurt to say it again! Show your gratitude for this opportunity by sending a thank you letter. You can send it by email or as a handwritten note within 24 to 48 hours of your meeting.
Even though emails may be simpler, handwritten cards have a greater impact. Make every effort to shop and send a thank you to everyone you have come into contact with. This can be the receptionist who gives you water or the CEO who interviews you.
How to make the most of your internship
You have completed the internship and want to get started. However, there are a few strategies to consider before you start your first day. Since this may be your first internship, you want to make the most of it. Paid internships are the perfect opportunity to find a mentor, build your career and invest in your financial portfolio.
Impress from day one
Now is your time to shine – show yourself in style and show your skills. Since 53 percent of the internships lead to full-time positions, you are willing to work. Invest your time in others and companies may want to invest more in you. Start with the right foot using our tips below:
Ask your new team about office clothing preferences.
Show up at least 15 minutes earlier on the first day if you get lost.
Research your team and create a list of questions you want to ask.
Walk around the office and meet at least two new people a day.
Always be enthusiastic and positive.
Ask for help if you are unsure about a task or project.
Find a mentor
As you adapt to your new internship, go out of your way to build lasting business relationships. Make a plan to meet someone else in the office every week. You can ask to go for coffee, have lunch or get to know each other during breaks. As you build your network, see what connections become natural sponsorships. These connections can help you to accompany your career and increase your salary potential.
Expand and maintain your network with these four tips:
Connect actively with others to build your professional portfolio.
Enjoy a coffee break while you get to know your team outside the office.
Keep an eye out for expert tips to build your career and budget.
Find one or two long-term career sponsorships.
Use your network
At some point your internship will end, but there may be an opportunity to return after graduation. Show your team how grateful you are for the opportunity, whether you want to return or not. If you leave on good terms, you can earn a job in the future or create your reference list.
How to say goodbye in style:
Attend one or two campus networking events to meet industry professionals in your area.
Ask your mentors at the workplace to exchange email addresses to keep in touch.
Add a reminder to your calendar to send your mentors an email every three months.
An internship can help you pave the way for your dream career and budget. You can find out what you love and what you don't. You can build your career portfolio while building your finance portfolio. Read on and read our seven tips for earning and progressing your internship.
swell: Top resume | ZipJob | SHRM | Internships | NACE 1, 2, 3, 4 | Indeed career builder