7 steps to finding great internships

Tags: internships

Today's economy presents challenges when it comes to paid employment. For students, there can be an up side to this. Given massive cut backs, there is greater opportunity now to find meaningful internship positions. The current situation could result in you being given higher levels of responsibility than ever before. So, how do you find a great placement?

1. Find out in advance if the school matches students with pre-arranged positions. Get an idea of the kinds of companies involved. Ask how the assignment of internship positions is handled. If it appears landing a great opportunity will be a long shot, then get permission to set up your own.

2. If quality internships are available, ask yourself what is your main goal? Are you interested in a company that could potentially hire you? Would you rather choose a situation with more potential for responsibility such as a smaller business? Or are there particular skills you wish to acquire? When you are clear on your intention, you can make a more informed choice. Being at a big name corporation doesn't necessarily guarantee the most mileage out of your internship.

3. Research each of the companies. Find out the staff size, their mission and some background information on their product or services. Showing your instructor initiative could be the deciding factor as to which student gets their first choice.

4. Be prepared to justify why your dream internship assignment is best suited to you. Consider how you might lobby your instructor for the position you want. Successful people rarely depend on luck to achieve their goals.

5. If your school does not offer pre-existing placements or if you have permission to find a stronger option, identify potential companies that are willing to participate. Check with your parents, friends and other course instructors for referrals. Do research through the Alumni Association to locate former students who are now out in the workforce.

6. Next, prepare an information package for potential placements. Include a cover letter clearly stating your goal and a letter from your instructor on school letterhead so they know it is part of your curriculum. Most companies now require this to be certain you are covered by the school's insurance while you are in the field. Write up a list of bullet points outlining what will be required of the company such as evaluation forms, grade assessments, etc. The final piece of the proposal package is a well-written resume.

7. Contact the people on your list and present your request including forwarding your package to those who are open to receiving it. Make sure to keep the ball in your court by letting them know by when you will follow up to hear their decision on offering you're an internship position.

You can pro-actively create your future by setting clear goals, take well thought out action steps and putting those into action. Do not trust fate. Instead be the master of your destiny.

By Tambre Leighn, www.coachingbytambre.com

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