A 2013 report found that over half of all companies are unwilling to hire workers without any experience. Because so many young adults are now going to college, it is becoming more and more necessary to receive work experience, in addition to obtaining a degree. For most, this comes in the form of internships. Many companies, in all different industries, utilize interns to get entry level work done. While internships are important, and many are unpaid, companies often offer students college credits and the experience they will need to move forward upon graduation. With that being said, there are paid internships, and, in some cases, an unpaid internship can turn into a paid one, if you play your cards right. Keep reading for tips and tricks that will help you land a paid internship.
Begin Your Search Early
If you are looking to get into a competitive field, you’ll need to begin your internship searches early. For example, many competitive summer internship programs have application deadlines as early as October or November of the previous year. When you begin the fall semester, you should also begin looking for spring and summer internships. Paid internships are sought after and highly competitive, so making sure you begin the search early will make it easier to procure one of those internships.
Do Your Job, and Do It Well
When you begin an unpaid internship, realize that there is a possibility of that internship turning into a paid role, if you are a good fit for the company. Ask your direct manager what jobs they consider more important to the company, and make an effort to take part in company tasks. If you show yourself to be a valuable resource with the company, they will reward you, in most cases, with a paid internship after the terms of your unpaid internship is completed.
It Never Hurts to Ask
If you are currently working an unpaid internship, or have found an internship that looks applicable to your field of study, but it is unpaid, don’t be afraid to ask for a paid opportunity. Often times, a personalized letter detailing your skill set and why you would be a valuable resource to the company can turn an unpaid opportunity into a paid one. If you are already working with the company, don’t be afraid to ask for a paid opportunity. Be ready with references from your direct superior and those you have worked with. You’ll also need to outline how you’ve helped the company during your time there. You are valuable, so don’t be afraid to sell yourself as such to the company’s higher ups.
Know the Industry
While there is often wiggle room when it comes to getting a paid internships, there are some sectors in which paid internships are simply not the norm. If you really need payment for your work, as many college students do, you’ll want to do your research and focus on industries that are known for offering pay or stipends to interns. For example, the non-profit sector often does not have the funds to pay their interns, regardless of how hard they work, or how valuable they are to a company. If your goal is to work in the non-profit sector upon graduation, you may need to settle for a unpaid internship. The financial industry, on the other hand, often offers pay or stipends to their interns, so looking within that industry is a good idea. You will need a strong business background to secure one of the more competitive internships within that industry.