How to Apply for an Internship Step-by-Step Guide in 2023
Internships are a great way to gain experience and build your résumé. You can use them as a stepping stone to career progression and get ahead of your peers.
If you want to learn how to apply for an internship, then read on; we’ll show you how to make your application stand out from the crowd, as well as how to find potential internships and make sure they’re the right fit for you.
So, if you are ready to learn how to ace those next internship interviews, then we are ready to show you how to. This article is the definitive guide you will need to learn the best method to apply and get internships that you apply to.
What are Internships?
An internship is a short-term job where you work in exchange for experience and training. Internships usually last between three months and one year, though they can be shorter or longer depending on the company’s needs.
They’re often taken by recent graduates who want to gain professional experience in their field of study before joining the workforce full-time.
Internships are sometimes unpaid, but many companies do pay interns a small wage or stipend as compensation for their labor.
This wage is typically lower than what paid employees earn at that same company; however, many employers offer benefits such as transportation reimbursement, lunch money, and health insurance coverage during an internship period.
If these benefits sound appealing to you (or if they’re required by law), consider applying for one of these positions. This is because internships give you real working experience that will help you advance your career quickly.
Paid Internships vs. Unpaid Internships
Let’s deal with the elephant in the room. There are two types of internship — paid and unpaid. When you’re considering applying for these roles, it’s worth finding out if you will get compensated. Of course, for some people, working for free is entirely unsustainable.
Before you start searching for an internship, decide whether you are open to unpaid opportunities. The value of an internship lies within the training and education you will receive. Many big-name companies plunge money and resources into creating well-rounded internship programs. So, if you’re trying to enter a competitive field, gaining this type of voluntary experience may give you an edge over other candidates.
Ultimately the decision to take an unpaid internship depends on your circumstances. You need to weigh up whether you can afford to work for free. If you have rent and bills to pay, how will you cover them each month? Can you live with your family while you complete your internship? Alternatively, could you get a part-time job alongside your internship?
It’s a highly personal decision. You’re the only person that can answer those questions. Deciding whether you need a paid position ahead of time will help you limit your search.
How much do interns get paid?
Let’s talk about money. If you manage to land yourself a paid internship, how will that affect your bank balance? You may be surprised to learn that the wage is good.
According to the 2020 Internship & Co-Op Survey Report, the average hourly wage for an intern in the United States is $19.54. Most interns also receive regular benefits from their company along with paid holidays and social activities. Be selective here!
Where to Look for Internships?
Internships are often advertised on job boards, university websites, and the careers section of a company’s own website. You can also find them in the classified section of newspapers or through word-of-mouth.
Step one: Find internship openings in your chosen field
How do you find an internship? If you’re fresh out of college, it’s likely the first time you’ve had to look for an opening. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a career change, you may not know the industry well. Either way, you can find an opportunity that suits you.
Don’t rely on Google searches. Finding the perfect opportunity takes a targeted approach. Luckily, there are plenty of places that you can start looking. Here’s a quick breakdown:
Job or careers fairs
Attending job or career fairs at your college may not be a bad idea. Leading companies recruit interns on campus. That means that you may learn about opportunities at these events. Keep your eye out for any events at your college and pop them in your diary.
It doesn’t end there. You may find that there are local career fairs advertised online. Checking out Facebook groups, Craigslist, and any other listing websites is the way to go. The more of these events you attend, the more likely you are to know about openings.
Looking to get into a specific industry? If there’s a certain company you’re desperate to work for, take a look at their website. You may find that the business advertises its internships on the ‘Careers’ page of the site. While these opportunities may also be advertised on job boards and elsewhere, it’s a smart move to go straight to the source.
Checking out job sites is a good place to start when finding your internship. But did you know that there are internship-specific boards out there? Examples include Internship Finder, Idealist, WayUp, and LinkUp. You can browse these sites by industry or job title.
Career service offices
Does your college have a career service? Talking to an advisor is never a bad idea. Be direct about the type of job you’re hoping to land. The expert will have a load of insights and information that will help you find the right internship for you. Aside from giving general advice, you may find that this expert knows about internship opportunities too.
Have you considered speaking to your lecturer? How about your tutor? Around 10% of new interns land positions through faculty contacts. If you’ve made a good impression on your teachers, they may be willing to give you a helping hand.
Often enough, teachers have worked in the industry themselves. That means that they have a wealth of contacts to tap into. Going to them directly could save you time. While you may have to apply through the traditional means, you’ll get a foot in the door.
When Should I Apply for an Internship?
The best time to apply for an internship is during the summer. This is typically a popular time when a lot of companies hire interns to join their companies.
The next best time to apply for an internship is during the fall and then winter, which is a bit too late because the selection process can take up to two months. But ultimately, it is better to keep an eye on when companies you are interested in, start putting out announcements for available internship programs.
So if you want to get hired, it’s better to get started as early as possible.
How to Find a Suitable Internship?
Finding companies suitable for you to intern with largely depends on what your career objectives are.
Usually, students opt to apply for internships that relate to what they are studying, so as to get a working knowledge of their chosen disciplines.
To begin your search, do some research on various companies and their industries that fit into the career direction that you are heading into.
Furthermore, look up information about what they do and why they do it. This is a great way to get an idea of whether or not the internship would be a good fit for you; if your research has revealed that the company is involved in something that interests you, then chances are high that you will enjoy working there.
Next up, research the job description itself. It may seem like common sense, but make sure that all of your skills are reflected in the requirements listed on their website before submitting an application.
If any of your qualifications aren’t listed there (and remember—not all internships require resumes), it could mean one of two things: either they don’t have any openings at this time, or they’re not actively seeking applicants with those specific skill sets.
After you’ve confirmed that an internship is suitable for your career objectives and skillsets, then there are a few things you must know how to do to help your chances of successful application.
What You Need to Apply for Internship Programs
It doesn’t matter what position you are applying for, or what your interests are, companies will generally require you to provide some or all of these things:
- A Cover Letter
- Ace interviews
Writing a Cover Letter
Cover letters are a great way to show a hiring manager that you’re serious about the job, but they can also be a little intimidating. If you’re not sure what to include or how to write one, we’ve got some tips to help you get started.
Use the right tone
A cover letter is an opportunity for you to show off your personality, but it’s important not to get too informal with your tone. You want your cover letter to show that you’re professional and easy-going at the same time—not overly formal or stiff, but not too casual either.
Be clear about why you’re writing it
While it’s good practice for every job application, it’s especially important when writing a cover letter that explains why you’re interested in the company and what makes them stand out from other companies in their field (if applicable). You should also make sure that any personal connection you have with the company is mentioned here as well.
Show that you’ve done your research on them (or their industry)
Although they don’t mention it, companies particularly appreciate applications that take the time to do their research on the company’s work culture and environment fit. So, when you apply for an internship in a company, it is especially helpful if you show hints that there are benefits peculiar to the company that makes you want to want for them.
To get down to the actual writing, here are some tips to keep in mind when you’re writing your cover letter:
- Start with an introduction that connects you to the company. Mention how you were referred by someone who knows one of the hiring managers or how they’ve seen your work before.
- Make sure to mention why you want to intern at this particular company and what skills and experience you have that would be useful for them.
- Explain how you fit into their culture and what value you can bring to them as an intern. Don’t write a generic statement about wanting to learn from others; instead, explain how closely related your interests are and what aspects of the job will help achieve their goals (i.e., if they’re looking for someone who has sales experience, talk about how much time spent volunteering with nonprofits).
- End with a final note expressing gratitude for considering your application.
Internship Cover Letter Examples
If you’re searching for a job, you should know that there is a lot of competition. If you want your resume to stand out among the rest, then it needs to be as effective and professional as possible.
A good cover letter example can help you in writing a successful one that will give any company an impression of your potential and personality. It also helps them understand why they should hire you over other applicants who are also applying for the same position.
You may find it difficult at first because writing one from scratch can be challenging especially when there are templates available online that could guide you through creating one for yourself.
Writing a Resume for Your Internship
Before you start applying for jobs, it’s important to make sure you’ve got the right tools in place. Here are some tips for writing a resume for your internship:
- Focus on relevant experience. If you haven’t had much work experience yet, focus on volunteer work that makes sense for the kind of internship role you are applying for.
- Make your CV short and sweet; (advisably, one page is enough). Keep your resume under two pages, and don’t include any unnecessary information like references—you’ll have plenty of time to fill those out when you get an interview.
- Keep it simple and clean. Don’t add fancy fonts or graphics unless they’re totally necessary (and if they are, make sure they look professional). Make sure all text is easy to read at a glance and try using bullets instead of paragraphs whenever possible so readers can quickly scan through each section without getting lost among too many details or sentences that go on too long without making sense out of context.
Preparing for Interviews
After applying for an internship, only one of two things happen afterward:
- You are either called up for an interview or a skill assessment test, or
- You don’t get shortlisted.
In the fortunate case that you get shortlisted for an interview, it is important to prepare yourself for this interview. Here are a few ways you can prepare yourself for an interview:
- Do your research ahead of time. Learn as much as you can about the company, its mission, and what they’re looking for in an employee. Look up their website, read online reviews and social media posts, and check out Glassdoor if they have a page there (or even if they don’t).
- Practice answering questions in different ways. If there’s something specific that comes up often in interviews (like “What are your strengths?”), practice saying your answers out loud so it sounds natural when it comes up during the real thing.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You want to make sure that both parties get all the information they need from each other so everyone can make an informed decision about whether this position is right for them or not.
- Be prepared with questions for the interviewer. It’s important to do some research into what kind of questions they might ask so that you’re ready for them.
- Make sure your attire is professional. Put on something that shows off your style while still being appropriate for an interview setting.
- Be punctual, but don’t show up too early—you don’t want to be there when they’re still setting up.
- Bring a copy of your resume, and make sure it’s up-to-date and error-free.
How do you properly apply for an internship?
The best way to get an internship is by going through the proper channels. First, you need to make sure that you have the right experience and credentials. Ideally, you should have a degree in the field that interests you, and a few years of relevant work experience. You also need to be prepared for interviews with your potential employer and references from past employers.
Second, make sure you know what kind of internship you’re applying for—there are many kinds, with varying levels of responsibility and compensation. Internships can be unpaid or paid; some are paid internships but require candidates to be enrolled in school or have graduated within the past year; others do not require a college degree but do require a specific amount of relevant work experience.
Finally, make sure that whatever type of internship you choose fits into your schedule and budget! Make sure there will be enough time left over after working to study if necessary, while still having time for yourself.
What is the first thing you do when applying for an internship?
When looking for an internship, the first thing to do is make sure that the company is a good fit. If it’s not a good fit, then there’s no point in applying. The next thing to do after determining whether or not the company is a good fit; think about what kinds of skills they need from interns. What are their biggest needs? Do those align with my strengths? If so, great! If not… maybe this isn’t going to be the best fit for you after all. It is advisable to pursue internships that truly align with your career goals.
How do you increase your chances of getting an internship?
A lot of people think that the best way to get an internship is by networking. But networking isn’t the only way—you can also use social media and online job boards to help you find an internship. To increase your chances of getting an internship, you should:
1. Make sure your resume is up-to-date and includes all relevant experience and skills, as it relates to what you are applying to.
2. Apply for internships early in the application process (ideally before it closes).
3. Make sure you have a cover letter that highlights why you’re a good fit for the position and why they should hire you.
What are 3 reasons why you should intern?
There are so many reasons why you should intern. Here are just a few:
1. You can build up your resume and get some experience in the field you want to go into. With an internship, you’re getting real-world experience that will be useful in your future job search.
2. You’ll get to know more people in your field, which can help you find a job after graduation.
3. You’ll get an idea of what it’s like to work at that company, which may help when it comes time to apply for jobs there later on or start a company of your own.
1. Internships will help you get your foot in the door. However, you should start looking for opportunities months before the expected start date.
2. Don’t simply rely on internet searches. You should also ask around and see whether your professional contacts — or friends — know about any new openings.
3. Create a resume that turns heads. This document is a good place to show off your skill-set, expertise, and passion for the industry.
4. Formatting an interview-winning resume can be tough. Use one of our field-tested resume templates to save yourself some time!