Get into school, graduate, find a job and live happily ever after. Sound familiar?
Many people think that this is the path that must be followed in order to get employed in your preferred field. Well I’ve got news for you. The climate of employment in Canada is changing and internships are often considered to be a stepping stone in your career path.
Internships can be a great way to get your foot in the door, gain real-life workplace experience, and make important connections that could last a lifetime. Although many internships are unpaid, you can gain valuable experience that will get you settled into your field. They can also be a learning experience that may dissuade you from working in a certain industry, which can help you in the long run. Either way, finding a good internship within the industry you want to work in is increasingly important.
Here are our best tips on how to find an internship within your preferred field of work:
Apply to a lot of interesting positions
The number one piece of advice many professionals would give you is to give yourself as many options as possible when applying. In my personal experience, I had my eye set on an internship within the field of sports journalism, but I applied to everything from news stations, to fashion publications, to business-focused publications.
Don’t bank on your first choice because for one reason or another, you might not get it. If you don’t get your number one choice, it’s best to have several alternatives open and hey, if you get offers at different places, having options is always a positive.
Don’t get discouraged
Getting turned down for a job happens to just about everybody. Keep calm and carry on. It can be frustrating, stressful, and downright depressing to get turned down for your dream internship but that doesn’t mean you should curl up into a ball and give up.
Everything happens for a reason. A job elsewhere might be a better fit for you. I, myself, went through 5 months of applying before getting an internship and that’s not even a long time! I’ve spoken to people who are now gainfully employed, who had to search for over a year after graduation before finding an internship. No matter how discouraged you may get, dust yourself off and keep applying. It will work out.
Everyone’s got a resume. Try and find a creative way to market or sell yourself to a prospective employer. Whether that means making a polished website to serve as your portfolio or resume, or getting even more creative. A student in the U.S. recently booked an internship with the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon by writing and performing a rap. He got to perform live on TV, and later got the position.
When I got my internship, I never even met with my employer in person, it was all through email and over the phone. I made a website to promote myself, and who knows if I would have gotten the position if I had just sent them a black and white word document resume. Going the extra mile pays off.
Use all of the resources available to you at school
Your program coordinator is busy trying to find internships for your entire program, but if you put in the effort to work with them, they can use their industry experience and connections to find the right fit for you.
Even if that just means creating a dialogue, so they can send you contact info for internship opportunities, it’s an advantage over looking for internships on Indeed or LinkedIn. The secret to finding internships is making connections and utilizing the expertise of those more experienced than you.
You never know what you might get asked in an interview. So make sure to practice with someone, a professor, friend, parent, or fellow student. Sometimes an employer can ask you a question that’s really out of the box, so practice framing good answers for odd questions. You may feel prepared to talk about what you’ve learned or to answer the typical strengths/weaknesses questions, but it’s an advantage to be able to spin any tough question into a good response.
Also make sure to check out our tips to make a good first impression in an interview.
Looking for more than an internship? How about a great job on campus? Bolster your resume and work for IGNITE!