How to Apply for an Internship

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An internship can provide a serious student with an inside look into the career or industry they are interested in pursuing. The work is hard and the hours are long, but the experience you gain could last a lifetime.

  • Decide on the type of internship you want. Students who are interested in becoming attorneys should apply for internships at a law office or city government, while people who are interested in becoming writers should consider an internship with a newspaper or public relations firm.

  • Check with your academic adviser to see whether your school has a partnership program with local businesses. These types of connections could increase your odds of being accepted.

  • Network with friends and relatives whose parents or colleagues work in the field you want to enter. A valuable internship could be right under your nose.

  • Prepare a separate resume that targets your qualifications to each internship. Most companies want to hire students who are intellectually curious and demonstrate academic achievement in the field they are applying to. Also include details about volunteer positions or significant accomplishments in school.

  • Obtain some letters of recommendation. Ask past teachers or supervisors to write a short letter on your behalf outlining any key assets that you will bring to any position.

  • Fill out every section of the internship application properly. Many companies have specific requirements for their applications and will disregard any applicants who cannot follow directions. Have a teacher or parent proofread your application for spelling or grammar errors.

  • Dress appropriately for the interview. The interviewer will be scrutinizing more than just your application, so it's important to make a positive first impression. Be prepared to discuss your reasons for applying and what types of projects you would excel at.

  • Send a thank-you note to the interviewer within a day of your interview. Many candidates overlook this simple gesture but your thoughtfulness might give you an edge over someone who has similar qualifications.

Tips & Warnings

  • You might think that being so meticulous about an application shouldn't matter for a position that involves mostly grunt work, but internships often lead to a full-time position once you graduate so the company wants to ensure that they are attracting top talent.
  • Use a calendar or journal to stay organized about where and when you applied for positions. You could ruin your chances with an employer if you mistakenly refer to them by a competitor's name over the phone.

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