Finding an internship is one thing. Finding the right internship is another. As you are applying for internships, here are a few things that are good to consider.
First, you have to be conscious of when you want to start your internship. Companies may want you to start right after you are offered the internship — but you might want a summer internship, even though you might be applying for it in the spring or fall. Most of the time, the application it will indicate whether the internship is in the fall, spring, or summer. Take note of this when applying and be sure to make sure your plans are clear during the hiring process.
Another thing to look when applying for an internship is whether the company will pay you for your work. If the internship requires traveling or renting an apartment, you probably will want to be paid in order to pay for those expenses. But if you are living at home and just want the internship for experience, then an unpaid internship might be a better option.
Check if the internship is part-time or full-time. You might not be ready to work 40 hours a week, 9-5. You might want to start slow with 10-20 hours per week. Make sure you look on the application to find if the internship is full-time or part-time.
It might sound like a no brainer, but also check to see that you are qualified to work for the company. Read the full position requirements before applying to make sure that you fall under most of them. You don’t have to have every single requirement an employer is looking for, but make sure you know and understand most of them. One particularly important requirement to look for is US authorization; many companies cannot sponsor students who don’t have the ability to work in the country without support. If this is something that is applicable to you, make sure you take note of any requirements or get any questions you may have around your work authorization answered.
An issue that I am especially attuned to is meeting the minimum age or class-year requirement. Many internships are for upperclassman, and you might be like me, a freshman. If it says they’re looking for upperclassmen, keep that internship in the back of your mind; you can always go apply for it when you are an upperclassmen. Also, if you are a freshman, some internships want you to be 18, and depending on the time of the internship, not every freshman will be 18.
Finally, don’t think that you have to find an internship “in your major.” Part of the internship experience can be exploring opportunities or industries that seem interesting or a little different. You might want to find one that interests you or helps you build a new skill. Being able to demonstrate that you are a diverse and well-rounded student is a great thing to have on a resume!