No matter where you are in your career journey, an internship could be right for you. While internships are commonly thought of as something only for active students, they are also useful for individuals currently in the workforce who are looking to change career paths or grow in their current job. Internships can be paid, un-paid or performed in exchange for school credit.
How do you find an internship?
1. Use Career Services - If you are currently enrolled in an institution of higher education or an alumnus, the Career Services Office at your Community College or University can help you find and apply for internships. High School students should talk to their School Counselor and Career Development Coordinator (CDC). If you are not in school, there are over 80 NCWorks Career Centers across the state to assist you. If you are interested in learning more about working in the public sector should explore internship opportunities with the State of North Carolina.
2. Start Early - Internships are typically highly competitive and timelines vary widely. Most successful candidates look for opportunities well ahead of when they would want to start. For example, prospective summer interns should start looking for opportunities no later than winter break as many companies select summer interns by spring break.
3. Go Online - There are numerous online job posting sites - NCWorks.gov, Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, etc. - which feature thousands of potential job opportunities; or set a Google Alert for internship postings with the companies or industries that interest you. Search these websites to identify opportunities and apply. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and only apply to one or two that most interest you, apply to any of them that pique your interest with specific cover letters, resumes and applications.
4. Be Brave and Cold Call - Are you really interested in a particular company or industry, but can’t find internship opportunities there? Do some research, identify some companies, prepare a 30 second speech as to why you are interested in interning with them and give them a call. It never hurts to reach out and ask. Some companies may be impressed with your initiative and the worst that will happen is that you will be told “no.”
5. Use your Network –Talk to your teachers, counselors, professors, friends, and family members about any internship opportunities they may know of. Don’t forget to post it on your social media accounts. You might be surprised by the response you get.