The Elusive Internship: How to Find It

YouTern is happy to present this guest blog by Allison Cheston.

Whether you’re in high school or college, figuring out where to find an internship and getting someone to hire you can be a daunting process. There’s a lot of talk about getting an internship, but not a lot of information on how to go about it.

So how do you actually find an internship?

Ideally you’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what your strengths are and the ways you like to work and get things done, and you’ve started to also think about projects that could utilize those interests. If you haven’t done that, and you need a framework for doing so, check back on my blog as I’ll be covering the process in detail.

Let’s get started…

  • Try Googling an interest you have and see what companies come up.
  • Go to www.vault.com and see if they list any of your fields of interest. Just create a free account and you can search by company, industry or profession. You can get descriptions of different professions and associated fields. It’s a great place to start getting real-world information about careers. Jot down a list of job titles you think look appealing.
  • Using your LinkedIn account (if you don’t have one, now’s a good time!), go to Advanced Search, type in your general field of interest and see what kinds of jobs come up. Type in some of the job titles you found on Vault.

You can narrow your search further so that only jobs and organizations in your geographic area come up. For example, if you live in Des Moines and you’re interested in environmental engineering, see if there is a company close by and someone specific you can contact.

What you’re trying to do is take something you might be interested in and keep digging until you find the organization that does that and the person who works there who might give you an internship. It sounds a bit like finding a needle in a haystack, but I promise, this method really works!

  • Looking at it from the other direction, who do you know who runs an organization where you might serve as an intern, either part-time during the school year or in the summer? Can your personal network, parents, other relatives help here? How about the career advisors or career center at your school—they often have resources for career development and can be a tremendous help, even to the high school student.
  • Since most schools have a community service requirement, you could also explore your interests through a community service gig. There are all kinds of ideas here, but especially if you’re interested in some kind of teaching, training or helping the disadvantaged, you can expand your community service project to get more involved in an area of interest.
  • YouTern makes it easy to find internships in your area, or virtually. Make sure to check out the available internships they have listed.

Have an internship or job-related question? Email me!

About the Author: Allison Cheston is a New York City-based career advisor that works with mid-career executives, young adults in high school and college, and recent graduates to help them understand how their strengths and interests fit in the world of work. Allison is author of the upcoming In The Driver’s Seat: Work-Life Navigational Skills for Young Adults, the first book to combine the perspectives of both a ‘Boomer’ and hundreds of Gen Y college grads aged 23 to 30.

An entrepreneur with cross-cultural expertise, Allison holds a BA from the University of Michigan and both an MA in International Education and a Certificate in Adult Career Planning from New York University.

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