Recruitment Consultant and LUC Alumna
Let's face it – the idea of being underpaid and undervalued is about as appealing as surviving on ramen noodles during finals week. But for many of us, internships serve as a turning point, teaching us professional skills that higher education overlooks. So, how do you secure an internship to help you bridge this gap? In this blog post, I will draw from my experience as a recruiter and share personal anecdotes to provide you with four ways in which you can find an internship.
One of my internships originated from a classroom discussion. My team was pitching an idea, and a classmate mentioned that her father's startup was working on something similar. This experience has taught me the value of being open to opportunities that arise organically in everyday conversations.
Universities often keep records of past student internships, so be sure to check these lists as they might reveal connections that can play in your favor. For example, when I found out that several alumni had interned at the International Baccalaureate, I reached out to them and mentioned their names to the recruiter, highlighting our shared connection. Building relationships with recruiters is also crucial, so start conversations well in advance, about three to four months before the internship season begins. Even if a vacancy has not yet been posted, proactively reaching out to recruiters at least twice and expressing your interest will help you stand out from the crowd.
Conferences and Workshops
Attending conferences and workshops is a great way to practice in-person networking with people outside of academia (as a student, you'll often get discounts for these events). Remember to be open to listening, as engaging in conversations can broaden your perspectives, and introduce you to industry trends, professional networks, and potential internship opportunities. Don't forget to connect on LinkedIn and send a follow-up message shortly after the event to reinforce your new connections!
As a student, I didn't initially grasp the power of digital networking. Yet, over time, I've come to appreciate the tremendous impact of online personal branding. Here's a quick tip: optimize your LinkedIn profile and share thought-provoking content - or at least start with sharing some kind of content. LinkedIn has been a life-changer for me, helping me secure an internship during the midst of the pandemic with a video pitch and even helping me avoid deportation through a post that went viral. So, let's showcase our Gen Z spirit by generating engaging content and fostering online connections.
To conclude, it is worth noting that the types of internships out there can vary significantly. Established organizations provide structured programs and resources, but may be competitive. Startups offer hands-on experience and a steep learning curve, but lack structure. Volunteering, while being unpaid, can offer invaluable learning experiences. Therefore, my last tip is to take the opportunity to test out your assumptions about what kind of organizations work best for you, ultimately helping you make more informed decisions about your future career path.