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5 Essential Tips To Land That Paid Internship!

Updated: January 11, 2024 | Published: November 20, 2021

Updated: January 11, 2024

Published: November 20, 2021

5 Essential Tips To Land That Paid Internship copy

Want to get a head start on landing your dream job upon graduation? One of the best ways you can prepare is to get an internship. The good news is that you can boost your career skills and earn some money by finding paid internships.

While there are internships that exchange college credit instead of cash, there are also options for paid internships for college students. Let’s dive into what you need to know to get hired as an intern.

What is an Internship?

An internship is a work experience that’s short-term and aimed at providing exposure to a specific industry or field. In most cases, they are directed towards college students, but it could be the case that a professional gets an internship to make a career move.

In whichever field they wish to learn and work in, an intern will be tasked with project-based tasks, and during their experience, they will be able to learn about the field and develop hard and soft skills. It’s also a great way to start networking so that once you earn a degree, you can apply to a paid position in the field and hopefully have a foot in the door already from the reputation you built during your time as an intern.

Source: Unsplash

Do You Get Paid for Internships?

So, the big question is, how much do paid internships pay?

There’s no single answer because the pay depends on the hiring company, the location, level of experience, etc. That being said, reports that the average base salary for interns in America (as of data updated on November 7, 2021) is $14.04 per hour. That’s more than the national federal minimum wage (which at the time of writing) is $7.25.

The industries that are most likely to pay their interns span:

  • IT
  • Banking
  • Accounting
  • Advertising
  • Public relations
  • Government
  • Fashion

It’s also common for Fortune 500 companies to pay their interns. This is because they recognize the value of training an intern who will likely apply for a paid position when they earn their degree. This way, they can benefit from teaching them about the company, expectations, and skills to succeed down the line.

Where to Find Internships

If you’re a college student looking to find paid internships, you won’t have to look too far and wide. Although the job hunting process can become tiring, there are many resources available for you.

It’s best to begin by listing your internship goals (that includes the type of job you want to learn more about, the industry, and even the companies on your wish list).

There are many job-searching websites that can help you along this journey, including:

Depending on the job search site, you may be able to filter by salary range or salary estimate to help narrow down paid internships.

Also, you likely have resources right at your fingertips if you’re enrolled in college. You can talk to an academic advisor, attend job fairs, search job postings in school social network groups, and take a look at flyers that may be located around your campus promoting internships.

Many universities, like the University of the People, have partnerships with notable companies, so you can take advantage of these types of programs. 

Tips to Land a Paid Internship Opportunity

The chances are that when you are looking to score paid internships, you’re not the only one looking. That’s why there are some tried and true tips to land a paid internship and stand out amongst the crowd of applicants.

Take a look:

1. Search Early

Most internship positions become available in the summertime when students are on break from school. However, companies don’t wait for the sun to shine to start their search. By fall, it’s a good idea to begin networking and searching for paid internships. It’s the most active season for companies to recruit for summer internships.

2. Apply to Several Opportunities

You know this concept from applying to college, but it still stands for internship applications: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. What this means is that you should be applying for more than one paid internship. Keep a list of where you’re applying to with the status of your application. Consider putting the list in order of your preference, but be open to internships that are not slotted in the first position.

3. Use Your Network

Make use of your network. You can leverage the help of alumni from your college through groups that connect alumni with current students. If you’re spending any time on social media (who isn’t?), then use it for professional purposes too. Follow brands and companies that you admire. They often will post in a story or to their page if they are searching for interns. Then, you can be one of the first to apply!

4. Optimize Your Digital Brand

Before it becomes time to apply for paid internships, spend some time working on your digital brand. You can create a website that hosts your resume and a little about yourself. If you’ve worked on any school projects, such as work that constitutes a creative portfolio, put it up online as it shows examples of your experience that could be an asset to a hiring company. Don’t forget to keep your LinkedIn profile updated as well, so recruiters can find you. Lastly, clean up your act on social media. Many hiring managers and recruiters will look through your social media accounts to learn about you, so try to keep pictures you wouldn’t want your grandparents to see off of your public accounts.

5. Personalize Your Cover Letter and Tailor Your Resume

If you don’t have a resume or cover letter ready to go, then create at least a template of one that you can adjust based on each job description. Your resume and cover letter should be tailored to the position you are applying for so that you can showcase your genuine interest for the role. Your resume will also be used to show your academic experience and demonstrate why you would be a good fit for the paid internship.

Source: Unsplash

Paid Internships Await!

Now that you know the answer to “Do you get paid for internships?” is a possible yes, you can go to search for the internship that most excites you! There are in-person paid internships and remote paid internships to choose from, so based on your preference, you can also filter internships by location.

Keep in mind that an internship is a potential starting point for your future career. You have the opportunity to make a great and lasting impression on the employer, so show up energized to do a good job day-in and day-out so you can make the most of it.