Internships, those usually unpaid jobs that college students do for experience. Often portrayed as crappy jobs where you run around getting your bosses coffee. But, that’s not completely accurate. Internships are not just for college students and they’re not just about grabbing coffee for the boss. Internships are truly great ways to gain experience in almost any field and they stand out beautifully on college applications. So let me show you how to master the internship process, high school style.
So why should you do an internship? Easy, they benefit you more than anyone else.
If you’re anything like me, college applications are in the forefront of your mind quite often. And you want to impress colleges when they look at your application so that they give you a spot in their school. Internships are easily one of the ways to do that. Not every student has the time to do an internship so those who do almost instantly look better to colleges.
Finding your interests
There’s a lot of pressure on students to know exactly what they want to do when they enter college. But it’s hard to do that when you don’t have any real world experience. Interning can provide some clarity about whether or not a particular field would actually suit you individually. Or it may even open you up to a new field that you hadn’t even thought of.
Aah, networking. Honestly, this is probably my mom’s favorite word. But it’s important to build a good network.
Interning will often open doors for you to talk to other people that your mentor (the person you report to) knows. This means you’ll be introduced to a whole host of people who have connections in many places. And if you leave a lasting good impression, these connections may be able to give you a letter of recommendation or even land you a job in the future.
And now, let’s figure out how to get an internship
Ask your parents
I know, I know. You guys are high schoolers, you don’t want to ask your parents for help. But listen to me first. Your parents know people, who know people who may be able to get you an internship. If you happen to be even remotely interested in either of your parent’s line of work, I would recommend asking them if they know anyone who’s looking for an intern. You never know, you might end up in an internship that you really like.
We live in the digital age (ick, I sound old), make use of your resources for more than just Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. There are tons of websites that are constantly posting updates about internships. In fact, there’s a website called Internships.com that posts various internships around the country.
You can also do a very simple google search like “internships for high school students” plus whatever city you live in. If you want to get more specific, add the field that you’re interested in receiving an intern.
Ask your counselors
School counselors are usually pretty nice people who actually want you to do well. And they don’t actually mind helping you out, they genuinely want to. Don’t be afraid to ask them for some guidance. They have connections that you don’t, make use of them.
Call people and companies
If you’re anything like me, you’re terrified of calling people on the phone.
It’s a silly fear, I know but it was something that really scared me. Here’s the great thing though, calling around for internships has gotten me over that fear.
Some of the smaller companies in your area may not be advertising for an intern. Or they may not even realize they need one. You might be the one to initiate the idea of an internship with a company- which is a pretty awesome thing to put on your resume.
I’m not going to say “don’t be afraid” because that’s crap. Embrace the fear and come up with the introduction that you’re going to say. The formula that I suggest:
“Good afternoon, my name is (insert name here) and I’m a high school student at (insert high school here). I’m calling to ask if there are any internship opportunities available.”
Ask around, you never know.
You’re bound to find an internship if you look around long enough. It can be really frustrating and annoying but stay persistent and you will find one. I know this because I’ve been there and I got one. But in the part 2, I’ll tell you what it takes to be a good intern.
Are you looking for an internship? Which of these have you used or are planning to use? What about those of you who got an internship, what advice would you give?
Good luck on your search and stick around for part 2.