We may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.
In a tough economy, it’s an employers’ job market, which means that anyone hiring can afford to pick and choose from the glut of applicants — and make wild demands (see, for example, the companies that ask for your Facebook password at the
The answer, very simply, is internships.
Why you want an internship
Internships are great for a variety of reasons, but they’re terrible for one big one: You don’t always get paid. That said, it isn’t always a bad thing. First, it really drives home the point that your labor at an internship is an investment. Just like when you were preparing for college and asking “what degree is right for me?” make sure you seek out internships in a field you enjoy and that has the potential to propel your budding career to new heights.
Creating your own internship
Not all internships are advertised, and the ones that are advertised tend to be highly competitive. Almost every company needs someone to take care of a little extra work, and in this economy, not many can afford to hire that extra person — particularly smaller companies. This is where you come in.
Reach out to the right companies
In your emails, in your
Be their biggest fan
Flattery won’t get you everywhere, but companies love believers. If you believe in the work they’re doing, everything will be easier, from applying to committing to a schedule. Not only that, but you can renew their enthusiasm for their work, which is huge. If they need someone to pick up a few jobs, that means the people there are probably overworked and on the way to burning out. You can help fix both.
Don’t look desperate; that’s not attractive in any situation, career or otherwise. Look and be eager to get started — and make that known to the right people. Again, these people are busy, which means you aren’t their highest priority and you might slip their minds. When you reach out to ask about an internship, make it easy for them to respond, be professional and try different avenues (i.e., if your email feels flat, go into the office and put a face to your name). If the company uses Facebook or Twitter or any other social media outlet, engage them there, and keep it positive. Don’t be in contact much more than once a week, but don’t stop until they give you a firm answer.
In today's job market, how you perform in an interview can make or break your hiring possibilities. If you want to stand ahead. above the rest of the pack, 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions is the definitive guide you need
Fill needs – don’t step on toes
You want to be sure that you’re offering to fill needs the company has, not offering to replace someone — particularly not your contact. Ask if there’s anything they need, and offer your skills — tactfully. Don’t ever start with criticisms. That won’t get
You’re an intern, not a slave
Yes, it’s a tough market, but that doesn’t mean you should be treated poorly at work, intern or no. Don’t put up with humiliating or invasive hiring tactics, and don’t do more than you’re willing to. Be sure to always weigh the benefits of your internship against your duties, and put your foot down when things start to get bad. If you’re being overworked, it could be time to bring up a full-time position at the company, and if they won’t consider it, it could be time to take the experience you’ve gained and move on. Your internship is a great opportunity for both you and the company you’re working for; treat it that way.