As an IT student, “Intern with an awesome tech company” should be at the top of your bucket list. This is because an IT internship will equip you with critical technical and soft skills you’ll need during the span of your career. It will also assist you in building your resume, lengthen your list of career contacts and increase your self-confidence. And if that weren’t enough, tech internships have been touted as the answer to the IT skills gap.
If you are unsure about how to find the perfect IT internship for you, you’re not alone. Plenty of other college students around the world are in the same boat and feeling just as overwhelmed as you are. Give yourself a competitive edge and make the search process less stressful by using these tips.
Network like never before.
Finding the ideal IT internship is often an exercise in networking since a huge number of internships are never advertised. Just as many jobs are found through networking, lots of internships are found through networking as well. If you are inexperienced in this area, getting started may feel a little awkward. Keep in mind that the more you network, the more natural it will feel.
When searching for a tech internship, be bold in asking for leads. You have nothing to lose. Start by asking your instructors, peers and past employers about potential internship opportunities they may be aware of. Also, attend IT networking activities on campus and in your city.
Every networking activity you participate in will bring you one step closer to finding the best IT internship for you. Even posting your query on Facebook can yield great results. Don’t forget to be a helpful contact for other IT students by letting them know when you hear of an opportunity they might be a good fit for.
Adopt an “anything can happen” mentality.
Going into the internship search process with the belief that the world is your oyster and anything can happen will serve you well. Even if you’ve never considered yourself to be a dreamer, it’s important to adopt an abundance mindset when searching for an internship. It will give you the courage you need to apply for internships you may feel are out of your league.
Making a list of some of the top tech companies you would love to intern with will help you think like a dreamer—so will reaching out to those companies and asking about their internship opportunities. If they don’t have any that would be a good fit for you, at least you’ve made some new contacts and exercised your networking muscle.
Know where to look for internships.
Most people don’t know where to begin looking for internships, so they immediately turn to the Web. The Internet is a fantastic search tool, but Googling “IT internships” will yield 734,000,000 results in 0.59 seconds. That is why it’s vital to narrow down your search terms. Also, it’s super helpful to know where on the Internet to search for internships. Here are a few ideas:
- Absolute Internship
- Internship Programs
Keep in mind that students routinely find quality internships at their current educational institution, so don’t forget to talk to your on-campus career advisor about IT internships as well.
Be open to unpaid internships.
Most people prefer a paid internship. However, if your mind is completely closed to unpaid internships, you might miss the opportunity of a lifetime as some outstanding IT internships pay only in experience and connections.
Instead of writing off an unpaid internship that looks amazing, check in with your financial aid department. If you will be receiving class credit for your internship, you may be eligible for grants, stipends and scholarships designated for unpaid internships.
The process of landing the right internship is very rewarding. It will allow you to develop your networking skills, put you in contact with many potential employers, and mature you as a tech professional. You’ll use the very skills you developed or strengthened during your internship search, during the internship itself. That said, don’t shortchange yourself by opting out of the search when the internship you want seems to evade you. Hang in there, and in time you’ll most likely find an IT internship that is a perfect fit for you and will support your long-term goals.
Interested in learning about how to succeed as an intern? Read How to Finish Your IT Internship on a High Note.