Posted April 01, 2014 by

5 Tips to Find a Paid Internship in College

Smiling female intern holding a laptop outdoors

Smiling female intern holding a laptop outdoors. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

You’ve hit your junior or senior year of college and now you’re looking at the job market you’re graduating into. The market may look intimidating for a new graduate, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that 12.6 percent of 2011’s class remains unemployed. However, the National Association of Colleges and Employers finds that 30 percent of businesses hiring new grads pull them from their internship programs. Internships give you needed experience in your field without having to compete with people who have years of experience on you. They allow you to network with the movers and shakers in your field, and they give you hands-on experience in your field of choice. In addition to these advantages, paid internships financially compensate you alongside the college credit. Instead of working food service or retail while you attend school, a paid internship gives you the chance to do what you love while putting money in your pocket. Start your internship search by hunting down all of the paid opportunities available.

Talk to Your Department

Start your internship search within your major’s department. For example, if you’re a computer science major, use the IT degree program resources to find out what local companies work closely with the college for internship programs. The internship listings should detail whether they are paid or not in the listing details. If you can’t find the pay details, talk to professors and advisors to see if they have additional details before calling the company.

Utilize Online Internship Searches

Several websites specialize in compiling internship information for students. These internship search engines use specific criteria to get results for you, including whether or not the internship is paid. If you have dream company choices who aren’t actively offering internships, don’t be afraid to use a site such as LinkedIn to find hiring manager contact details. Talk to them to see if they would be interested in taking on an intern.

Consider Your Field

Some industries are much more likely than others to offer paid internships. Bankrate reports banking, IT, and government fields are likely to offer paid positions. Hard sciences also have a higher tendency to offer paid internships compared to liberal arts programs.

Research Your Companies

Once you’ve found the paid internship of your dreams, make a great first impression. With the job market languishing, it’s likely you will run into a fair amount of competition for your internship opportunity. This is especially true if you are in a field that doesn’t have wide access to paid positions. Research the company, its goals, its products, and the company culture. You want to go into the interview with passion and energy. Show the company that you want to learn everything you can and that you already have the basics out of the way.

Say Thank You

Once you complete the internship, don’t vanish into the night if you don’t receive an immediate job offer. Send a thank you letter to all of your major points of contact within the company. You never know when a polite gesture may lead you into being considered for an opening in the future.

By Chris Lopez

Chris is a social media intern at a local television station.

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