This Step-By-Step Guide Will Help Prepare High School Students For Finding And Applying To Their Best Internship Opportunities
By Tyng Kam, Stride Success Coach
Traditional jobs for teenagers, in the retail and food services industries, help develop transferable skills for future jobs… like customer service, teamwork, time management, and other career-readiness skills. An internship, however, offers exposure to the industry you are interested in pursuing as a career. It gives you a taste of what it’s like to work in the industry, and to assess if that’s what you really want to do. Below, in this article, is a listed step-by-step guide, for you to open-up the best internship opportunities for you, personally.
Identify your interests before looking for an internship in high school.
The first step to finding an internship is to know your interests, qualities, and abilities. Usually, things you are deeply interested in are also generally things at which you excel. Here are a few questions to help you discover your interests:
(1) Which academic subjects and extracurricular activities come naturally to you?
(2) What activities you are most excited to do during your free time?
(3) What tasks do you usually volunteer yourself for, and do not procrastinate about doing?
(4) What are the three top qualities your friends and teachers value most in you?
Embrace your passions and utilize internships to pursue things you’re engaged in during your free time. You may not have many opportunities to pursue your interests like playing video games, creating anime and comics, and cooking while in high school. But, you can look for internship opportunities that intersect your talents and interests.
Have a resume ready to apply for internships.
A resume allows people to understand your overall professional profile quickly, and it helps potential employers to determine how to best help you. In addition, the process of building a resume prepares you for self-introduction, and it helps you to be able to quickly relay pertinent information. It is also key for you to develop your brief introduction, or “elevator pitch,” before reaching out to people and companies. It takes time to build a good flow and to be natural at your elevator pitch, so allocate time to practice your pitch, reflect on your delivery, and refine your pitch over time.
Inform your network that you are looking for internships while in high school.
You’ve heard about the importance of networking, as a way of getting ahead in your career. And, it is true. Getting hired often depends on who you know, and that’s the same for high school students, too. Reach out to your parents, extended family members, parents of your friends, teachers, and coaches. Provide them with your resume and a brief idea of what you’re looking for in an internship opportunity. Take advantage of social media to connect with these people, as well. Your guidance counselors, CTE teachers, and Success Coaches can be valuable resources, since it’s common for businesses to contact them to advertise internship opportunities. The more people who know about your intentions, the more likely you will be to land an internship offer.
Do your research about internships using online tools.
Don’t know where to begin? You can start by performing a general search for a high school internship on the internet. The search results will provide you with an extensive list of positions offered in the job market. Go through the job descriptions of those positions that attract your attention, and then evaluate if any of these positions are a good fit for you. You can then further narrow your search to opportunities close to home or remote positions. Stride’s Internship Search Tool is a great resource designed specifically for high school students. You can also perform a targeted search by using Google Maps to identify local businesses. For example, if you are interested in a career as a Veterinary Technician, then an internship at a local animal hospital can be relevant. Many small and mid-size organizations cannot support an internship recruitment process, but they might be open to hosting an intern, if you contact them directly. In my experience as an outplacement manager, calling companies has been the most effective way of opening up opportunities.
Be creative and open-minded as you seek out your best internship.
With the right mindset and creativity, you will always be able to find opportunities to gain real-world exposure by shadowing professionals. Local independent businesses are untapped resources because most small businesses do not actively seek interns, due to limited human resources capacity. In reality, many are open to hiring one, if they meet the right candidate. Non-profit and youth programs are great institutions to target for internships. The best way to get your foot in the door is to start with volunteer work. You can get to know the people inside the organization and use your volunteering position as a platform to showcase your qualities. For enterprising students, you could also consider starting your own business, which means you will not have to wait for people to hire you. Ask your parents to help you set up an online retail space, and learn how to build an e-commerce business offering commission services or selling used goods.
The earlier you start your high school internship experience, the more time you get to find your fit in the professional world. It is the best investment of your time and effort to take a job in your high school years and realize from the experience whether or not you truly liked it as a potential career option.
Wondering “What To Look For In An Internship Job Description?” Click here, to find out more information!
Check out the latest tips on Balancing Work And High School, from a Stride Career Prep Success Coach!
To read a Stride Student Advisor’s Perspective on finding the right internship for you, click here.
Plus, if you are looking for an internship right now, be sure to check out Stride's Internship Search Tool: https://www.stridelearning.com/career-prep/internships.html
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