Six tips for finding an internship
Every student is encouraged to complete an internship during their studies; internships allow students to insert themselves into the professional world by gaining connections and experience. But how do you find the internship that’s right for you and your goals?
TARGET YOUR SEARCHES
Though internships are about discovering a professional field, you should find the right balance between exploring new leads and finding an internship that is consistent with your studies. For example, try to find an internship that is in your field but cultivates new skills, or expands further upon existing skills. When developing your career later on, recruiters will notice that you diversified your resume while still having a clear professional path and remaining true to your general objectives.
Another mistake that students might make when targeting their searches is limiting their searches to big companies. This isn’t always the way to go, as there are many valuable internships at smaller, developing companies like startups – in fact, working at these companies may allow you to grow and contribute even more than you would be able to in a big company. Their structure encourages a sense of initiative and allows access to a greater variety of responsibilities.
USE YOUR CONTACTS
To get an internship, don’t cross out any leads. Think in terms of your different academic, professional and social circles:
- in your institution of learning, ask alumni associations, teachers, your major’s department, the French department, and the career center
- contact previous employers and social connections made during your study abroad program to see if they know of any available internship positions
- consult key websites such as…
- CIDJ ("Centre d’information de documentation pour la jeunesse"/Centre of Information and Materials for Young People)
- ...and of course the France Alumni directory! Go to forums, information days and other events oriented towards employment opportunities for university students and young professionals.
BUILD YOUR RESUME AND COVER LETTER
Your resume and cover letter are your main tools in snagging an interview by convincing a company that you will be a valuable asset.
These three rules provide a great framework for you to properly develop your resume and cover letter:
- Be precise: Find out how your target company works. Identify everything in your profile that matches the requirements and needs of the company.
- Be concise: Your resume and cover letter must not exceed one page each. For your cover letter, organize each of your points in paragraph format, using complete sentences. For your resume, use a layout of headings, sub-headings, and bullet points in order to clearly and succinctly describe your experience and skills.
- Be determined: Don't hesitate to send an e-mail or call the appropriate office. Initiating direct contact with a company can allow you to be noticed in a sea of other applicants.
FoLLOw up with employers
After an interview, it’s always a great idea to follow up with whoever interviewed you. Send an e-mail to the interviewee within the next day or two, thanking them for their time and consideration. Make sure to try and include a detail of your conversation that you found particularly fascinating, thereby showing them that you appreciated your discussion. Employers will find your attentiveness refreshing, and you will undoubtedly stand out from the crowd.
Don’t Limit Yourself!
Oftentimes students make the mistake of only applying to their top internships. While you shouldn’t apply for internships you have no interest in, it’s good to branch out and examine all your options. You may very well find an opportunity that, at first glance, might not be your first option – however, upon further exploration, you could find that you are a great fit for the opportunity. Furthermore, applying to many different companies that you could possibly see yourself working at will increase your chances of getting chosen for a few of them!
Know how to Market yourself
As an international Alumni, you’ll have developed many valuable skills that are assets at any company. Learn how to market these skills by checking out our article.