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Top tips for finding the suitable internship: what to look for

Internships are an excellent way of getting professional experience during college. However, choosing the appropriate internship could turn into a real challenge. In this article we will provide you with valuable tips and tricks to follow in order to find the best internship.

Top tips for finding the suitable internship: what to look for

Internships are part of each student's experience. They provide the opportunity for gaining real-world experience and are pretty similar to a full-time job, except that they are short-term. Students use what they learn in the classroom and apply it during the internship while further expanding their knowledge and skills. With a completed internship under their belts, students have a better chance of career progression and achieving their professional goals. But the big question is what you need to do to find the right internship that will meet their goals. Read on to find about different types of internships as well as the most essential steps for you to consider when embarking on the ideal internship search process.


Seven types of internships – a quick overview

There are different types of internships, and seven of those types will be listed depending on the learning objectives and expectations. Depending on the goals and expectations, different types of internships can be distinguished. Below we present the seven most important ones.

  • Paid internships

They can be primarily met in the private sector or in large organizations that have the cash flow to pay students as they gain work experience. Paid internships are the desirable student’s choice that motivates them to choose a company where to grow. More and more companies that can afford to pay students for their internships will choose this method to get interns they can train and make them stay with the company permanently after the internship ends.

  • Internships for credit

This type of internship requires to be strongly related to an academic discipline. Students may be required to complete an essay or presentation during or immediately after the internship to illustrate the knowledge and skills they learned over the course of the semester. They gain knowledge and experience under the tutorship of a schooled professional. Instead of actual payment, students seek out college credit as a way to be compensated for the time they spend and the work they perform. Both full-time and part-time options are available with this type.

  • Non-profit internships

An internship in a non-profit organization is usually quite distinct from working in a for-profit organization since it is usually not paid and is mostly focused on providing a charitable service in charities, hospitals, government agencies etc.. Students who choose this type of training do this because it is a great way to gain experience without stress. And if the employer is content with the student’s work, he can offer him a permanent job in the organization.  

  • Summer internships

A majority of the students enrol for summer internships, which usually last eight to twelve weeks and can be either part-time or full-time. This time of the year is perfect for students to gain a real insight into what it’s like to work a particular job in a real-life environment. Although not all summer internships are paid, they can still be used for extra student credit and networking opportunities.

  • Service learning

This training program focuses on achieving specific learning objectives by performing community service. It is related to the community in that students participate in organized service activities that meet community needs and are substantially related to the course content. Interns are unpaid and do not receive financial compensation.

  • Co-operative education

Co-operative education differs from an internship primarily in its duration. The former usually lasts one or more years. It provides students with the knowledge and practical, real-world experience and involve working with professionals from a particular field.

  • Externship

This type of training is very similar to an internship, and they only differ in the duration of time. Externships are much shorter in time and last only one day to several weeks. It is also an unpaid and informal internship that students can complete anywhere. 


Explore yourself and discover what is right with you

After familiarizing yourself with the different types of internships, you need to identify specific interests in line with the desired training. It will help you understand which area to look for and decide whether to start an internship in the area of your studying or to gain knowledge and experience in another field. Thus, you will gain a clearer vision and a plan of their dream career path. The first step to take is the online research. 

  • Conduct an online research

There are numerous websites where you can find information about the types of internships and tips and tricks for finding the right one. In addition, there are websites just for choosing and applying for internships. But the question is whether this is enough source of information. Of course not, because it is best for the student not to rely only on the internet.

  • Share goals with college professor, advisors, friends and family

The internet is one of the main sources for finding an internship, but the other significant method, perhaps even the safest, is for the student to approach their university. You should check with the university about available internships. In addition, you should turn to university lecturers and professors for guidance and advice, as they already know their abilities and can help guide them to the most suitable internship. Students can also share their internship ideas and goals with friends and family. This approach is advantageous as friends and family can recommend students to companies. That is a consequence of someone knowing someone and this somebody being the key person to finding the right internship.

  • Attend career fairs

Another factor in finding an internship or simply gaining more knowledge is attending career fairs. Career fairs are often not only meeting for future employees but also for curious, ambitious and prospective interns. At such gatherings, you can create many contacts for the future even if you don’t manage to find an internship the very first time. At career fairs, you can talk directly with different employers and what they expect from their future employees. The disadvantage of fairs is that they are not organized every week, and you have to follow the dates. You can check for dates online or on the university events calendar, as many universities also organize careers fairs.

  • Research companies

Sometimes it is better to go straight to the source. If you have a particular company in mind and is interested in being accepted, they should contact that company. First, you should write an email to the designated company, introduce yourself and express interest in working with them. The majority of students go straight to the big companies because of the prestige and image they give them. But this is not always a good idea, as many people apply to these companies and there is more competition for a particular position. If a student succeeds in being accepted into such a company, they might not get enough attention to develop because each member will be focusing on their work. On the contrary, small companies might provide much more knowledge and practical experience since the team is small and there is plenty of work. Both types of companies offer positives and negatives, and this relates to your wish as to whether they would like to work for the company name or gain more experience in a small company.

  • Get prepared for the interview

Preparing for the interview is one of the most important aspects of finding an internship or a job afterwards. It is said that the first impression is the last, so you should plan carefully before meeting with the recruiter. Here are some points for you to consider before going for an interview.

Being nervous and stressed is expected, but confidence can be the difference between a successful interview and a failed one. The ability to market or sell yourself as being an invaluable candidate is what companies are looking for. The first step is to research the company and check what goals and values pursue. You will have to learn about a company's goals and missions and convince them that being part of its team will bring them closer to achieving these plans.

Sharing professional goals that are aligned with the company's mission would greatly benefit the candidate. To look more professional, you can prepare a list of questions you would like to ask about the company, your role within it or your chosen career path. A genuine interest in the field could help build trust on the part the manager or the person in charge of the interview. Questions should be precise and fact-checked, as the candidate must avoid rambling and confusion.

Another essential aspect that you should pay attention to in this context is clothing. Interview attire needs to match the desired position. If you go to an interview in a suit, you might score a few points in some cases, but in other ones, it might be unnecessary or even counterproductive. Tech companies usually don't pay much attention to clothes, while business companies consider them necessary.


Starting an internship is considered similar to starting a job. Finding a suitable one may be a challenge for students, especially for those without experience. However, following the above guidelines will help you safely take your first important step on your career ladder. Good luck!