There are many benefits to getting involved in a summer internship while still in high school.
Not only will the experience help you to gain a better understanding of what future career opportunities may interest you, it gives you a chance to start to build a network of professional relationships and references. It may connect you with someone who can write you a letter of recommendation for college, and without a doubt, an internship in the summer will boost your college application.
While some internships are paid, it may also be in your best interest to take on an unpaid internship if that is the only option presented to you. Regardless of the opportunity, if one presents itself, you should consider it, talk with your parents about the pros and cons and then make a committed decision.
Get Some Real-World Experience
One of the most important lessons you may learn when taking on a summer internship is where your future career path may lie. An internship gives students the chance to “try on” a profession without making a commitment to a career path.
Since a summer internship only lasts the duration of one summer, it allows students to experience what it would be like to work in a particular field. The summer experience may give you just enough of a feel about the industry so that you can decide if it is one you would pursue in the future or if you would rather head down a different path.
Regardless, it is an excellent resume booster and give you a distinct advantage over high schools students who have never undertaken an experience like this. An internship will assuredly make your application stand out from the crowd and give you a competitive edge when you see admission at a particular college or university.
How do I Find an Internship?
And so, the important question is, how do you land an internship as a high school student. There are several ways, and no one way works better than another.
As you begin to search for a summer internships, the first thing you want to consider is time and how much of it you are able to offer. Next, you should select three-four solid areas of interest and seek internships in those areas. Once you have done those things, it is time to seek out a key summer intern position.
As with many areas of life, sometimes “who you know” is a huge asset. Start your search by making a list of personal connections: your teachers and coaches, friends of your parents, your own friends relatives, and any service organizations where you may have made a connection through school are great places to start.
Get your phone ready or sit down with your email and reach out and explain why you are seeking an internship. Even if your connection does not know of one personally, he or she may be able to connect you with someone who does.
Speaking of connections, while you have your computer on, set up a LinkedIn profile if you do not yet have one and start connecting on that site as well.
Be very frank about what types of internships you are looking for and reach out to as many people as you can.
If you use Twitter or Facebook, once a week put out a post asking for internship connections or suggestions and see who responds. Chances are someone you know, maybe even only vaguely, might know of an internship opportunity which will suit you well. So, be upfront about asking and see what you can find!
You can do a regular online search, but make sure you keep the perimeters clear and specific to what you are looking for, or be prepared for thousands of useless links and hits.
It may be best to visit your local City website or Chamber of Commerce website and start there before just doing an entire online search. Those specific websites will connect you with local businesses and city organizations, both of which may be overflowing with summer internship possibilities.
Finally, connecting with local colleges, especially with professors in the field of study you are thinking of pursuing, might land you a small internship.
Nail the Interview
Once you’ve made the connection, you need to be prepared. Regardless of whether it is a paid or volunteer position, you have to approach it the same way you approach a job interview; dressed professionally, resume on hand, and some personal stories that will leave your interviewee impressed and ready to make the offer.
Don’t forget to follow up any interviews with a written thank you note; in the age of email and texting, this will surely make you stand out.
And there you have it; connections, a great first impression and a commitment to service… you are on your way to scoring a perfect summer internship!