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Seven Tips for Securing a Meaningful Internship

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Sarah Lorenz-Coryell

February 20, 2023

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Meaningful internship Hero

Finding an internship as you finish high school or college programs is a rite of passage in many ways. Many people speak of the benefits of internships, and many students want to find an internship because they know it is something that can help them along their career path. But what separates a good internship opportunity from an ok one or a bad one?

Here are seven things to look for and consider as you choose what internship you want to pursue:

1. A role matching the career you want to pursue

It is obvious, but you will want to find an internship that matches your education and career goals. If you are going into the medical field, then that kind of internship is ideal, but also consider niche focus areas as well. Do you want something with surgery or diagnostics? Are you keen to work with mothers and babies? An internship is an excellent way to really focus on a specific area within a general career field.

2. An opportunity to learn industry-specific skills

Along with a more focused approach, an internship also offers you the chance to learn industry-specific skills you will need later in your work. If you want to be a journalist, then an internship at a newspaper, magazine, or radio/TV station can help you learn valuable skills. Data checks, interviews, speaking, writing, and general reporting are all things you can learn in a more realistic setting in an internship.

3. A long-term mentor and leadership source

Long ago, students learned by working as apprentices, and the internship is the modern-day equivalent of that for the most part. Choosing an internship is a great way to be mentored and taught by someone skilled and experienced in the field. You can learn fundamental skills and practical methods. And many internships are designed with one lead role model for you to follow and learn from during your time there.

4. The chance to do something meaningful or impactful

Another thing to consider as you look for the perfect internship to pursue is to see it as a chance to do something good. Oftentimes internships are a starting point of a career, but they are also a chance to do something you might not be able to do day in and day out as part of your job. Community projects, research teams, and other unique situations can present themselves during an internship.

5. Compensation for your work and efforts

Some students have resigned themselves to the fact that their internship will likely be unpaid, as that old adage of ‘getting paid with experience’ still gets tossed around at times. However, more companies today realize the benefits interns can have and offer paid internships more often. Looking for paid opportunities to learn your craft is definitely something to look out for when you choose this learning environment.

6. A chance to earn full-time employment status

Another consideration to think about when choosing an internship is whether or not it will give you a chance to transition into an actual employee at the company. Sometimes interns are placed higher in the hiring ranks, and when a company needs to ‘hire from within,’ interns are counted in that pool. So, be sure to ask about future employment and advancement opportunities that might be available to you.

7. A way to practice what you learn safely

The final consideration to keep in mind when looking at internship opportunities is how a particular setup can help you improve yourself. Internships allow you to put what you learn into practice in a more controlled environment that is still out in the real world. Combining class learning and practical experiences helps you perfect your skills in a safe setting that highlights your strengths and weaknesses in real time.

These are just some of the things to consider when you are looking into internship opportunities. The benefits are plentiful, and the right opportunity can make a lasting impact on your career. So, use these points and keep them in mind, and find the internship that is perfect for your unique career path.

In the competitive internship landscape, make sure you’re well-equipped to stand out from the competition. Do you have an ATS-friendly resume that includes the relevant keywords and is formatted specifically for automated screening tools like an applicant tracking system? Also, learn how to ace your video interview by practicing interview techniques and preparing a suitable environment for a professional experience.

Putting your best foot forward is really the most direct route to landing your dream internship.

Good luck!

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Sarah Lorenz-Coryell

Sarah Lorenz-Coryell is a full-time writer and editor with over 15 years of experience. With multiple degrees and diverse areas of expertise, Sarah writes content that is informative, memorable, and impactful.

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