You've just completed or almost completed your degree, and now you are ready to go to work. But wait! As you begin your job search, you may discover one very real problem. The majority of the employers to whom you are sending your resumes want someone with experience. You've just graduated, so where will you get the experience if you don't have a job? The answer is through an internship. While internships abound in virtually every field, paid internships may be more difficult to find, but they are out there.
- To Pay or Not To Pay-Why would an employer offer to pay for an internship when he can probably get the same work for free? In many cases, an employer won't offer any monetary compensation because much of the work assigned to the intern is considered menial. Your best bet for finding a paid internship is to look for an employer that actually wants you to perform on a more professional level. The bonus for your employer? He gets the benefits of having an eager worker at his company for a much lower pay rate!
- University Career Services Department-One of the best places to begin your search for a paid internship is with the career services department of your college or university. Most of these resource offices offer a wealth of information to their students. In fact, many universities have longstanding relationships with companies and corporations in the area. These companies often contact universities as they search for extra help. While positions may start out as simply part-time or seasonal, they sometimes turn in to full-time careers as interns work their way up the corporate ladder.
- Faculty and Staff-As you begin your search for a paid internship, the career services department of your university or college isn't the only option on campus. Department heads, faculty, and department staff are also an excellent resource. You've probably already developed a relationship based on mutual respect with some of the staff members in your field of study. Now is the time to use those relationships to your advantage! Many professors actively aid their former students in their search for paid internships, and often these faculty members have taken the time to cultivate relationships within the community with the simple goal of finding internship and employment opportunities for their students.
- Job/Career Fairs-Many colleges and universities host job fairs several times per year. These job fairs offer students and graduates an opportunity to talk with companies and corporations, and many of these companies are located all over the country. As you attend these functions, visit the display table of each company that offers jobs in your field. Talk with the representative about paid internship possibilities. If possible, go ahead and arrange an interview time. If not, ask the representative for information on obtaining a paid internship with the company.
- Apply on Your Own-Don't wait for a company to come to you. Get out there and make some contacts on your own. Yes, this can be intimidating, especially the first few times you visit a company, but you never know what opportunities are out there until you try.
- Internet Sources-Finally, the Web can open a wide variety of doors for you. You can check out companies' websites and read up on their employment and internship policies. You can also search for paid internship websites. These sites may be able to search for and find an internship for you, although some of these Internet companies charge a fee to do this work for you.