Achieving an Internship Independently: A 3-Step Guide!

Securing an internship is a valuable step towards gaining practical industry experience within your chosen field. It can significantly distinguish you from other graduate candidates you may be competing against.

In Australia, employers often prioritize candidates with a combination of casual work experience, such as retail or hospitality roles, alongside involvement in study abroad programs, community engagement, and volunteer work.

However, nothing captures their attention quite like internship experience. Therefore, devising a strategy to obtain your own internship is crucial. Here are three steps to help kickstart your journey towards securing an internship independently.

Why is internship experience important?

To begin with, securing an internship offers a valuable opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge acquired at university or TAFE in a real-world setting.

By joining a company within your industry as an intern, you not only collaborate with seasoned professionals but also engage in hands-on projects and real-life scenarios, allowing you to apply your skills and enhance your practical experience.

In this article, we’ll outline our top three steps to assist you in obtaining an internship independently.

But before delving into the steps, it’s essential to understand why mastering the art of securing an internship on your own is crucial:

  1. Course Requirements: Some academic programs mandate internships as part of their curriculum for graduation. For instance, many engineering students are required to complete a minimum of 12 weeks of industry experience supervised by a professional engineer to fulfill their course requirements. If you fall under this category, you’ll need to secure an internship independently.
  2. University Support Limitations: While you may desire an industry placement as part of your course, your university might lack the resources or personnel to assist you in finding a suitable internship. Therefore, possessing the skills to secure an internship on your own becomes imperative.
  3. Demonstrating Initiative: Securing an internship independently demonstrates initiative and resourcefulness. Successfully obtaining an internship through your own efforts equips you with strategies that can be leveraged beyond the internship period to secure job offers independently.
  4. Building Confidence and Networking Skills: Independently securing an internship not only fosters confidence but also enhances your ability to network effectively and access opportunities within the hidden job market.

Now, let’s delve into the top three steps to help you secure an internship on your own.

Step 1: Utilize LinkedIn

The initial step in securing an internship independently is leveraging the power of LinkedIn. With nearly one in four Australians active on LinkedIn for networking, recruitment, and industry discussions, it’s a valuable platform for connecting with potential employers.

To enhance your chances of securing an internship:

Ensure your LinkedIn profile is professional and compelling to attract employers’ attention. A well-crafted profile increases the likelihood of employers accepting your connection requests and considering you for internships.

Step 2: Start Connecting

Once your LinkedIn profile is optimized, it’s time to initiate connections with prospective host companies. This step is pivotal in your journey toward securing an internship independently.

Key strategies to connect with potential host companies:

  • Optimize your LinkedIn headline statement to make it attention-grabbing and relevant to your desired internship role.
  • Utilize the ‘people’ and ‘location’ search functions on LinkedIn to identify individuals with job titles aligning with your internship preferences, such as Marketing Manager, IT Project Manager, Laboratory Manager, etc.
  • Create a spreadsheet to organize the names, titles, and company details of individuals you plan to contact.
  • Craft personalized connection messages tailored to each recipient. Introduce yourself, mention your academic background, express interest in interning with their company, and highlight your relevant skills and enthusiasm.
  • Example message: “Hi [Recipient’s Name], I’m [Your Name], a final-year graphic design student at [University Name]. I’m passionate about [mention relevant skills/interests], and I’m eager to contribute as an intern for [desired duration]. I believe my energy and design flair could be valuable to your team. Thank you for considering my request!”
  • Upon acceptance of your connection request, follow up with a detailed message explaining why you’d be an ideal candidate for an internship within their company. Attach your resume for their reference.
  • If you don’t receive a response within 2-3 days, consider sending a follow-up message or, if appropriate, contacting the individual via phone to express your interest.
  • Repeat this process with multiple potential host companies to maximize your chances of securing an internship opportunity. Consistent effort and persistence are key to success in this endeavor.

Step 3: Embrace Traditional Methods

In today’s digital age, sometimes the most effective approach is the traditional, “old school” method of connecting with potential employers and seeking internship opportunities.

Here’s how to leverage traditional methods to secure an internship independently:

  • Print out around 100 copies of your resume and cover letter. While it may seem old-fashioned, this approach demonstrates initiative and determination.
  • Visit different businesses within your industry and drop off your resume and cover letter at their reception. This personal touch can make a lasting impression on employers.
  • Before your visits, research the companies and identify the HR Manager and Department Head. Address your cover letter to them personally, expressing your genuine interest in interning with their team.
  • Request the receptionist to forward your application to the relevant decision-makers within the company.
  • Be prepared to follow up with phone calls or emails to inquire about the status of your application and express your enthusiasm for the internship opportunity.
  • By embracing traditional methods and taking proactive steps to connect with potential employers, you demonstrate your commitment and willingness to go the extra mile to secure an internship opportunity. This proactive approach may significantly increase your chances of success in securing an internship independently.

Finding Internships on your own: Next steps

So there you have it — our 3 steps to securing an internship on your own. The process is not easy, but it will be worth it in the long run. Internship offers don’t just magically appear in your inbox. You need to work hard to get them! Good luck in your Internship search!