Exploring the power of internships
In this section you can:
- Learn about the best way to prepare applications from the experts.
- Think about the critical questions that need answers.
- Explore the benefits of doing an internship
- Get answers to your frequently asked questions.
- Tick the boxes with our internship application letter checklist!
The Expert View
Find out about internships and whether doing one may benefit you.
Examples of university internships and an internship organization
Read this to get the complete picture…
Are you wondering what to do this summer? Are you too cool to go on holiday with your parents? Then why not do an internship.
An internship is a wonderful opportunity for you to do something new and exciting, learn new things, gain experience and boost your university application. Maybe you will even earn some money, some internships pay you. AND internships provide amazing opportunities to gain work experience while exploring long-term career options. Maybe you are unsure about what you would like to study at university, what career you would eventually like to have. Many students have discovered their pathway by doing internships.
Internships come in two main forms: internships during your school summer holidays, and internships that are an integral part of your university degree.
Many internships are only open to university students/graduates. This module focuses on internships for high school students.
The benefits of doing an internship
Practice your job search skills
During the application process you will practice job search and employment skills: preparing a CV/Résumé, requesting recommendations, doing an interview; plus a glimpse of what the adult world of work is like.
Companies like it
Many companies prefer to hire students who have completed internship programs. This is because many interns have better work habits, possess excellent soft skills, and have higher technical and industry-related skills since they have received job training and professional guidance.
Sometimes they'll employ you!
Sometimes an internship can transition into a job if the employer is impressed with you.
Find out about different jobs
During an internship, you can learn what the roles and responsibilities of a particular career are from people working in the field.
Find out what you don't like
An internship can help you decide if a particular career is a good match for your personality, lifestyle, passions and goals. Sometimes finding out that you do not like something leads you to discover what you do like.
By successfully completing an internship, you can obtain a positive recommendation that can be used for future employers, college admissions and scholarship applications.
They look great!
Internships look good on your university applications.
An internship helps your understand how companies and organizations function, it is a glimpse of the real world.
It's really exciting
Perhaps you’ll have the chance to participate in an exciting project, but you will definitely be able to write about your experiences when you’re back in school making your university applications.
Be more confident
An internship can be a real confidence builder. Being successful in the real world can inspire you to work harder at school as your study and career goals become clearer.
Learn to be better
Not only do internships help develop your professionalism, but they also encourage character growth. Many employers even value personal qualities over professional knowledge when it comes to employment. An internship can develop characteristics such as integrity, commitment and self-motivation.
An internship can help you start to build a professional network that can be a resource for the future. You may even find a mentor.
Get more offers
Completing an internship also makes you a more attractive candidate for universities and scholarships.
Some critical questions that need to be asked
Sometimes the questions are more important than the answers.
Where do I want to do my internship?
How flexible am I with regard to working conditions?
How much time do I have during the school holiday for an internship?
Before you start looking…
Before you start searching, you need to set some parameters:
How long should my internship be?
How many weeks? Remember that you may have some other tasks you need to complete during the summer vacation like your IB extended essay, and you should still leave yourself some time to relax and have a holiday as grade 12 is going to be a busy time for you.
Some countries impose restrictions on young people under 18 working.
Do you want to do an internship locally? Do you want to return to your home country if you’re living abroad?
Are you restricted due to your language skills? Are you living in a country where you don’t speak the local language?
Now let’s find an internship!
There are lots of opportunities but you need to work to find them.
Make yourself a list of local companies and organizations that interest you and then look up the contact details of the human resources department. Next, you’ll need to write a letter of application and attach your CV/ Résumé.
See below for tips.
This is often a very effective way to land an internship. Perhaps the company or organization your parents work for will be able to offer you something. If not, then ask your parents to contact people they know and perhaps one of them can offer you an internship in his or her company. Also reach out to relatives and friends of your parents.
Universities and colleges
If you are interested in interning in a particular subject area, contact that department at the local university.
International companies and organizations
These will probably have processes and regulations in place that deal with internships.
If you are going to go and do an internship in another city or country away from where you are currently living with your parents, then you need to consider accommodation. Most students who do this focus on a city where they have family members or friends with whom they can live while doing an internship.
Next, Google companies in your target city who are offering internships.
Make yourself a list of companies and organizations that interest you and then look up the contact details of the human resources department. You’ll need to write a letter of application and attach your CV/ Résumé. See below for tips.
Things you can do that will make a big difference.
Ask parents for help
They know more people than you do!
Update (or create) your CV/ Résumé
We have a unit on this!
Check your calendar first!
Take a look at the calendar and work out some possible dates so you don’t make promises you can’t keep!
Research opportunities online
Write a letter of application
Wigsbury letter of application checklist
Pay attention to the layout
This will be a formal business letter.
Tell them why...
The contents of your letter need to state clearly why you are writing to the company or organization. (requesting an internship). Put this at the top of your letter.
You could also be proactive and suggest a project that you would like to undertake for them. E.g. researching how the company could use social media in their marketing drive.
Get some names
If you can find the name of a person in the human resources department, then you should address it to him or her directly.
Give real reasons
You need to state your reasons for wishing to do an internship at the company (write about your desire to pursue a career in that field).
List your skills
You should list your skills so that the company can see what you are capable of doing.
Include your CV
You should attach your CV/ Résumé.
Wigsbury Frequently asked questions
Quick answers to the important questions
Are internships paid?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
Do I have to commit to working a certain number of weeks?
Normally you will sign a contract/ agreement that will stipulate the length of your internship. You are, of course, expected to honor that.
Do I have to do an internship in a particular field?
Just because you have an idea that you might want to pursue a certain career doesn’t mean to say you are restricted to applying to companies working in that field, although obviously it would be beneficial.
I want to go and do an internship in a different city/country. I’m worried about accommodation, where will I live?
If you have friends or relatives in that city, you can stay with them. Otherwise you will need to rent a room, stay in a hostel/hotel, find a host family etc.
How can I find an internship?
By far the easiest way is to tap into your parents/relatives/friends’ professional networks. Otherwise you will need to search on the internet for companies offering internships;
This will be either direct to the company or you can contact organizations who specialize in arranging internships. See links. You can also be proactive and approach companies in your city, or the city you would like to do your internship in.
Do I need to intern somewhere prestigious?
University admissions tutors care far less about prestige and name dropping and far more about what you got out of the internship experience.