In most industries, it seems there are more applicants than available positions for full-time jobs. What differentiates the successful hires? Although there are many factors, a solid way to get ahead is to build up work experience. Volunteer positions, active engagement with non-academic organizations on campus, and internships are great ways for college students to start.
The Oxford English dictionary defines an intern as “a student or trainee who works, sometimes without pay, in order to gain work experience or satisfy requirements for a qualification.” My favourite part of the definition is “work sometimes without pay”. This is becoming increasingly common in today’s economy, but the undisputed benefit is the amount of experience gained. There is quite a bit of speculation about the legality of college students and new graduates working as unpaid interns, especially those who put in 40-50 hours per week, while holding weekend jobs that pay just enough to cover their cell phone bills and the next month’s bus pass.
The laws of supply and demand in the full-time workforce also apply to internships; moreso for paid positions. The movie The Internship, starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, pokes fun at how competitive it is to land an internship at one of the world’s largest tech companies.
Don’t get discouraged. If you’re reading this article, you’re already a step ahead of the competition. Congratulations on your initiative! Here are the best places to start your hunt for an internship:
- Through Niche Websites like TalentEgg
- Through your College/University Career Centre
- Through your own Network
- Through your Professor/Instructor
- Through Professional Organizations
When you think of online videos, I’m sure you think of YouTube. When you think of the online internship hunt, you should be thinking of TalentEgg. The number one online job board for students and new graduates, it should be on your radar throughout your job hunt.
If your academic program doesn’t include an internship option, you should visit the Career Centre. Just as entrepreneurs head to banks to get funding for their businesses, employers head to Career Centres to find new talent for their organizations.
What if your friend is the brother-in-law’s cousin of the hiring manager for the internship position you so badly want? It seems like a long shot, but according to the theory of Six Degrees of Separation, everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world. That means a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps. Your internship search can and should start with speaking to your own friends and family.
Your instructors not only have industry knowledge – they also have a wealth of industry contacts. Whether they work outside your university or not, it’s worth getting to know your professors and feeling out any connections they may have.
Chances are a group of experienced people in your desired industry comes together several times a year to exchange ideas and insight about their industry. These groups are looking to educate and mentor the future practitioners of their trade. Get in touch with them and try to attend open events or conferences they host.
You can’t go wrong if you start with these five places on your search for an internship. Make sure when you apply, you follow these basic resume tips to give yourself a great shot at being accepted!