Internships are an excellent way to get hands-on industry experience. Pay rates are low, and so businesses are willing to take a chance on an inexperienced person. If you find the right opportunity, you can get your career off to a flying start.
But how do you find that perfect internship position? In a shrinking global economy, we see fewer of these opportunities advertised. That’s why, in this post, we’ll look at how you can proactively seek out these positions.
Don’t Rely on Advertisements
Businesses today usually work through agencies or recommendations from employees. Many internships are never advertised at all.
See this as an opportunity. Take the initiative and seek out these unadvertised posts. Here are some ideas to help you find them.
7.8% of interns secure positions through networking. Speak to the local chamber of commerce and ask if they know of any business networking events you might attend.
Business Networking Events
Don’t feel obliged to attend paid events. There are usually many free alternatives available. Do prepare yourself ahead of time. People will ask questions to determine whether they’d like to do business with you.
If you’re looking for an internship, think about your career goals. You don’t need a perfect elevator pitch, but you should be able to lay your goals out cogently.
Keep in mind that networking is about the give and take. Pay attention to what other people tell you. Can you help them in some way? This could be through introducing them to someone offering a service they need or letting them know where to find information that they require.
Listen to others and become useful to them. That way, they’ll see the value you might bring to their organisation. If they don’t have a position for you, they’ll ask around to see if someone else does.
Another good idea is to join a chapter of a local charity like the Rotary Club. Rotary Club membership is often by invitation only, so you can’t just arrive at a meeting. Ask business people that you know if they’re a member or know someone who is.
Explain that you’re interested in the work the Rotary Club does and ask to attend a meeting. Most chapters are happy to welcome new members. Bear in mind that you’ll have to pitch in and help with their charitable projects.
The upside of being a Rotary member is well worth the effort. You’ll be able to do some good and build relationships with influential people.
Get Yourself Out There
Successful networking is all about getting yourself out there and maintaining a proper work-life balance. Improve your chances by attending the right events.
Where do the decision-makers of the firms you’re interested in hang out? Do they play golf? Will you see them at church? Are they ardent supporters of a local charity?
Research what their interests are and where you’re most likely to encounter them. Choose an area that you also have some interest in. It would help if you had a sincere interest in the topic to make the “accidental” meeting seem natural.
It’s not wise to fake interest, because most decision-makers will see through the ploy immediately. Instead, choose an area that you know something about so you can bond with your target.
Networking isn’t always easy. It’s a skill that you’ll need to develop over many years. You’re bound to make some mistakes here and there.
On the bright side, every successful networker started where you are today. They understand how difficult it is. They’ll make allowances for you as long as you show a sincere interest in them and their business.
Once you’ve become an old networking pro, you’ll find that opportunities seem to appear as if by magic.