Where to Look for Paid Internships
Finding a paid internship isn’t easy these days. Many internships are unpaid, and for those that are paid, there is often stiff competition. However, finding a paid internship is still possible—if you’re willing to put in the time. Here are a few places to start when looking for an internship that provides you with a paycheck as well as valuable career experience.
Your career services department
For many students, the career services department is the easiest place to start. Many universities have established relationships with local companies, as well as connections to the alumni network in your area of study who may be able to help you get an internship. These can often be very valuable connections, with opportunities for internships that could turn into full-time work for some students.
Your professors and other college staff
You’re most likely to get a paid internship from someone you know—rather than submitting a blind application. And some of the people who know your work best at this point are probably your professors. Your professors may have company connections or relationships with community organizations that
could lead to opportunities for you. It’s not unusual for professors to help
students get paid internships—so ask the ones you’re closest to if they have
any leads. Know the type of work you’d have in mind, and this will help
your professors help you.
Paid internships are more rare than they used to be—but there are still opportunities available.
Some college departments maintain major-specific internship connections, and one faculty member may be assigned to oversee internship opportunities for students in your area of study. Even after you’ve spoken to the professors you’re closest to, approach your department head to see if he or she can steer you toward other opportunities.
Your alumni office
If your college has a specific office for alumni affairs, ask them if there are any alumni willing to sponsor you as an intern. Even if no alumni will sponsor you directly, they may know of internship opportunities—or know the perfect person to ask. Alumni can be an excellent source of referrals and opportunities for college students and new graduates.
Many colleges host career and internship fairs at some point during the year, giving students an opportunity to search for internships, speak to company representatives in person, and apply for opportunities. Career fairs are an excellent resource for networking as well as direct applications. Some colleges host fairs specifically targeted at internship opportunities.
There are several sites that let you search specifically for internship opportunities. Check out search sites such as Idealist.org, InternshipPrograms.org, StudentTraveler.com. Some of these sites don’t narrow down internship opportunities according to which is paid and which is unpaid, but it will usually tell you in the job description whether the internship includes a stipend or hourly wage.
The company itself
If you know which companies you’d like to work for, call the campus recruiting manager or human resources manager and ask them about paid internship opportunities. Tell them you’re investigating paid internships at companies that interest you—and you’d like to talk to them about their program. Don’t just ask about the pay—ask about the types of job duties expected, the location, the application process, and what they typically look for in their interns. Asking questions isn’t just to get answers to what interests you—it’s to demonstrate to them your interest and initiative. Once they have spoken to you, you’re also more likely to get the internship than someone who applied cold—if you make a good impression.
Paid internships are more rare than they used to be—but there are still opportunities available. Be sure to use every resource available to you on campus, including your career services office, alumni relations department, professors, and department heads. Go to the career fairs and the internship fairs, and speak to recruiters about opportunities available. And use the Internet to find non-local opportunities using internship search sites and company websites. Lastly, don’t be afraid to contact the company directly and speak to someone in human resources or college recruiting to get more information about their internship programs. Finding a paid internship can take research and initiative—but if you put in the time, you’re more likely to find the internship opportunity you’re looking for.
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