How to land a paid internship

A paid internship can mean more than some extra money in your pocket.

Internships have become critical to students’ career development, with many employers now demanding them. Paid internships are harder to find, but can be much more beneficial for your career;  not only do you get money, you are also trusted with more important projects.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, paid interns spend more of their time on professional duties while unpaid interns are given more clerical tasks. Recently, NACE found that 60 percent of graduates who had paid internships received at least one job offer. When employers pay you, they are investing more in you — therefore, the probability they hire you full-time is higher. Here are three ways to find a paid internship:

1. Look in the winter and spring.
Most students hear from career advisors and parents that summer is the best time to find internships. Based on research from Indeed.com, a top job search aggregator, the best time to find paid internships is actually winter and spring. The amount of paid internship postings increases 26 percent higher on average during those seasons. If you look when others don’t, it’s also easier to stand out.

2. Use all of your resources.
The best way to learn about paid internships is to ask around. Talk to your family and friends, and connect with your LinkedIn contacts. Go to conferences and local events, ask your teachers, attend job fairs and even look on Craigslist. When you approach a possible opportunity, ask up front if it’s paid before you go on a series of interviews. If it’s unpaid and you have no other options, try to at least get course credit for your hard work.

3. Alter expectations according to your interests.
Depending on your major and the industry you want to pursue, the likelihood of finding a paid internship changes. For instance, if you want a job in entertainment you may not get paid. If you’re an accounting or finance major, there’s a high likelihood that you will get paid as an intern. The more in-demand you and your degree are, the better chance you have at securing a paid internship.

– Dan Schawbel is the founder of Millennial Branding, a Gen-Y research and consulting company. Subscribe to his updates at Facebook.com/DanSchawbel.

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.


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