Should You Kanban Your Job Search?January 27, 2021
Are you looking for a way to accelerate your career, get experience without any, and discover if your target career is a good ‘actual’ career? An internship could be just the thing for you.
Why Seek an Internship?
When done well, internships are a productive and beneficial learning experience.
- As an intern, you’ll spend time working on relevant projects, learn about the field, and develop both hard and soft skills.
- An internship offers you the opportunity to build your network by enabling you to make relevant connections in the industry.
- An internship enables you to work closely with industry professionals and experts.
- An internship affords you the opportunity to figure out what you do (or do not) want to do.
- And, an internship gives you a competitive edge during job applications. Often, companies fill their full-time positions with people that intern with them.
On a personal note, six months into my internship as a receptionist in the Casting Center at Walt Disney World, I had the opportunity to interview for a full-time opportunity as a recruiter. And then…I got it. Companies love to hire people they know versus an unknown, unproven hire. Once you get in the door, your chances of getting a full-time job improve dramatically — some statistics show your chances improve by 60% or more!
Paid vs. Unpaid Internships
When it comes to getting an internship position, money is not the most crucial factor to consider. So, if you are not cash-strapped, don’t snub interesting unpaid opportunities.
Seeking a role in the tech or finance sectors? Good news! These industries tend to pay interns higher, on average, while non-profit or government organizations tend to offer unpaid internships. Be it paid or unpaid, of critical importance is the quality of the training and the learning experiences the internship has to offer.
How to Find Internship Opportunities
Leverage the power of your network. Ask for recommendations and referrals from people around you. The people in your network might know about opportunities that are not publicly listed. Better yet, a letter of recommendation from a respected industry professional can help you get a position faster.
I recommend intern seekers go about their job hunt by relying on personal referrals and a small list of ideal companies. When my 17-year old son was looking for a summer research internship with a professor, he did deep research into 1). schools that had both statistics and public policy offerings and, 2). specific professors who published thought leadership on those topics. He quickly ruled out many professors, and it became much easier to identify the perfect matches — and he was then able to craft personal email introductions to these target professors.
No search is complete that neglects LinkedIn. Search for internship listings by using the search field at the top, and apply filters to help you narrow your search results. Identify alumni from your school who work at your target companies, and ask for a few minutes of their time to inquire about what they do, if they like it there, and if they might be willing to introduce you to the person looking to hire interns.
Job and Internship Listing Sites
Online job or internship listing sites like Glassdoor, Indeed.com, and internmatch.com can help you get an internship faster. Register via the site, search for open positions, and apply. But, don’t forget — once you apply, look for a connection on the inside and try to get ‘in’ another way!
To get hired through a job posting alone, scour LinkedIn and your network for a contact at the company, ask to meet with that contact, and do lots of research on the company. Trying to land an in-person meeting with the hiring manager by writing a carefully-crafted email that shows how impassioned you are about the position and how you can solve the company’s problems is critical.
Here’s a sample email from my son’s campaign that worked:
“I share your passion for curating and analyzing data to solve world problems. In fact, in my free time, I taught myself Alteryx and created a multivariate analysis of the impacts of early childhood education on inequality, and hope to expand this to include other measures of income as well.”
Be open to the possibility of an online internship in 2021. Most companies successfully adapted to pandemic restrictions in 2020, but remote internship opportunities will likely continue into summer 2021 and beyond. Again, don’t dismiss remote internships right out of the gate, as they can be just as beneficial as in-person ones. Plus, many offer the opportunity to join with a ‘cohort’ so you will have others with whom you can collaborate and learn the ropes! Dismissing an opening because it’s online could, ultimately, be a mistake.
Internships are a great way to jump-start your career! Valuable internships provide an enriching learning experience and a front seat to the action within a potential future employer.