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The Best Time of Year to Start Applying for Internships

Mon, May 21, 2012

Internship Information

Obtaining an internship is an important step in fulfilling your career goals. It can be an intimidating process to find an internship since you have to figure out what will best fit your career goals, where to apply, how to apply, and when to apply. Luckily, one of these aspects is easy to figure out since most employers hire interns year-round. Here are some ways to make sure you apply for your dream internship on time.

Before you apply for anything, it’s a good idea to start with compiling a list of agencies, companies, and businesses that would support your career goals that offer internships. Then research each place and discover when they hire interns and what their application process for interns involves. Some governmental agencies start searching for their summer interns, for example, in October. Knowing specific dates will ensure you don’t miss out on a great opportunity just because you missed the application deadline. It’s never too early to start this research if you know your degree or your desired career will require internship work.

Though your internship may not bend to your wants and needs often, one thing you can control for the most part is when you intern. According to one study, more than 60% of employers hire interns year-round so it’s more up to when you want to have your internship as to when you should start applying. Having done some research, you’ll know of the places that only hire interns during the summer and those that hire year-round so you can decide on a company that best fits with your schedule. Once you’ve figured out when you want to start your internship, it’s a good idea to start polishing your resume and applying where you’d like to work about six months before you hope to begin the internship. If you want to do a summer internship, as is common for most students, you’ll want to start looking around December and January.

By doing your internship research, you’ll also have a better idea of who pays interns, other incentives offered, and what else the companies to do compensate their interns whether or not they pay you. Knowing these specifics will help you plan ahead if you know you’re going to need supplemental income to cover your bills or if you’re going to intern during a semester, you may more easily be able to work for free depending on your financial situation. When starting in a new field, you pretty much can’t have too many internships, so you may want to consider holding a couple internships throughout the year if you need to bulk up your experience.

Let’s say, as an example, you’re looking to complete an internship to fill requirements for one of the many urban planning masters programs available throughout the country. Since you’ll might intern for a governmental agency, you’ll need to start looking for your internship early. On average these programs require about 48 hours of coursework in addition to 120 hours of internship work. You could easily finish 120 hours throughout a summer while also being able to hold a job. Other internships may require a lot more hours, making it harder to complete during a summer if you also need to make money. If you have student loans, perhaps interning during a semester would be easier for you since your loans could cover your essential bills.

With a little research, you’ll find the perfect internship to fit your needs. Once you have your internship, you’re hours away from a successful career path. Good luck!

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