Internships have always been a great way for students to gain real-world job experience. But in this economy, when even experienced professionals seek employment, you may be wondering how your high schooler or college student can find an internship. Experts reveal how students can get that summer intership they need to help propel their career.
Anne Brown, founder of GradToGreat.com, a career advice resource for college students and recent graduates and author of the books, Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Graduates and Grad to Great: Discover the Secrets to Success in Your First Career, answers 6 common questions about how your child can find an internship this summer.
1. When should my child start looking for a summer internship?
“Many companies that have formal internship programs expect college students to apply several months in advance,” explains Brown. “For example, if an internship begins in June, an employer will often be looking for your resume in January or by March at the latest.”
Still, it may not be too late to intern this summer – companies may post last-minute openings on websites such as internshipprograms.com.
2. What’s the best way to contact a company for an internship?
Brown suggests students visit the web sites of companies that interest them, then to write a letter to the person in charge of the division at the company they want to work for. “Forget the HR department for now,” says Brown, “and this is not a cover letter. It’s a letter explaining your deep interest in this company, and more specifically in that division. Clearly state that you want to do an internship for them, that you’ll work for free, and that you’re available immediately for part-time.”
3. How can my college student network?
Brown’s recommendations for students? “Pick up the phone and call the person you want to work for. Ask if you can send your resume and again, explain your deep interest in this company, and more specifically in that division. Clearly state that you want to do an internship for them, that you’ll work for free and that you’re available immediately for part-time. Visit or call your campus career center and ask to learn about any opportunities they know about that may not yet be online.”
While it can be helpful for parents to let their kids know about opportunities they’ve heard about, Brown cautions against getting too involved. “Let the student do the work to find the internship him or herself. Employers dislike over involved parents and you can actually hurt your child’s chances for future employment in an industry where hiring managers are well connected and all talking to each other,” she says. “Do not call an employer on your son or daughters behalf.”