By: Alejandra Serna
Internships provide students with wonderful opportunities to explore the careers they’re interested in. They can also be a great way to start bulking up your resume, get your foot in the door, gain experience and add to your extracurricular activities in a way that will be appealing to both colleges and employers.
Usually, a school counselor, teacher or career center has the specified task of helping interested students find the perfect summer internship. However, there is no need to wait for the school to catch up to you. Take the upper hand and work on your own timetable.
A good rule of thumb to avoid missing the application deadline is to start your research about four to five months prior to the internship period – be it Fall, Spring or Summer.
To begin your internship search, find companies that work in your field of interest. While doing this, you must keep in mind that a company does not necessarily need to have an internship “program” to be open for interns. The same opportunity might hide under the guise of “temp” or “assistant.” Even if none of these categories exist, you might be able to create a position for yourself by contacting the company and explaining your interest.
This is where the money issue comes in as internships come in two forms – paid and unpaid. As you do your research, you will find a few of each. If making money during your interning period is of great importance to you, then immediately rule out the volunteer opportunities. However, if money is not critical for you, I suggest you consider all internship programs. Sometimes, you may find that the unpaid ones make up for their lack of funds in the quality or experience and the prestige of the company. After all, when it comes to your resume, it is much more notable to have volunteered for Sony Records than to have worked at your local Spec’s Music for minimum wage.
Another thing to keep in mind is that not all internships are boring desk jobs. For instance, Vanessa DeFaria, a senior at Miami Beach Senior High, got the opportunity to intern in a hospital over the summer break in Spain! Even though taking a close look at medicine was her prime concern, Vanessa says she also got to “see the sites of Madrid and tune the foreign language skills.”
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime that I would recommend to anyone,” said DeFaria. And she’s dying to repeat the journey in college. There are many organizations that provide students with such opportunities and many offer scholarships or financial aid to help pay for the cost of the trip.
When looking for the perfect internship, you should never sell yourself short and browse around before you make a choice; despite the fact that an important aspect of an internship is the work-place experience, a good internship offers more to its applicants. For example, the Advanced Academic Internship Program connects exceptional students with the right internship and offers them honors credits for their time. You may also find something along the lines of a paid internship. It won’t provide you with a steady salary, but it takes care of all the expenses relating to the job, such as lunch, transportation and housing.
Concisely, internships are as eclectic as music. You have to find the type that’s right for you. Therefore, try to make your search as extensive as possible so you can find the best deal in the market. Remember, there are a million opportunities out there and the only one that can limit your choices is you.