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Navigating the Path to Internships: 3 Essential Tips for High Schoolers

I’m Riya, a project manager intern for Internship On Demand! As a rising Senior in high school, I wanted to share some tips I learned through my internship process to help my fellow high schoolers. Through this internship, I was able to create workshops, host meetings, and plan out lessons. If you're looking for some work experience just like this, you're probably itching to dive into the world of internships. Trust me, I get it. Landing that first internship during high school can be a game-changer, setting you on a path to real-world experience and a sneak peek into your dream career. As someone who's been in your shoes, I'm here to share three tips that could make your journey to securing that perfect internship a lot smoother.

Tip 1: Define Your Goals and Interests

Before embarking on your internship search, take the time to reflect on your personal goals and interests. Consider the following questions:

  • What career fields or industries intrigue you?

  • I knew that I wanted to do an internship relating closer to the business side of things since that is what I am most interested in learning about and potentially majoring in at college

  • What skills would you like to develop or enhance?

  • I definitely wanted to develop my communications skills and was able to by continuously having to reach out to others first and create group-chats for team bonding

  • Do you have a specific company or type of organization in mind?

  • I leaned more into the idea of working at a start-up company as I wanted to have the opportunity to do a lot of roles that I wouldn’t being able to at a bigger company

  • Are you looking for a paid or unpaid internship?

  • This answer to this question definitely depends on your financial situation

Having a clear understanding of your objectives will guide your search and help you find internships that align with your aspirations. For instance, I knew that I wanted to intern at a start-up so that I would have the opportunity to do a lot of different roles that I just wouldn’t be able to do at a larger company. I also knew that I wanted to do an internship more on the business side of things since that is what I am most interested in learning about.

Tip 2: Research and Network

Once you've identified your goals and interests, it's time to research and network. Here's how to do it effectively:

  • Research: Explore different companies, organizations, and industries that match your interests. Use online resources, such as company websites, LinkedIn, and industry forums, to gather information about potential internship opportunities. Understand the roles, responsibilities, and qualifications required for each position.

  • Network: Networking is a powerful tool for discovering internship opportunities. Connect with professionals in your desired field through LinkedIn, school events, workshops, and career fairs. Attend industry-related seminars or conferences to expand your network. Reach out to friends, family, and teachers who might have connections that can help you find suitable internships.

Here are some things to search for when researching:

  • 100 Most Influential Companies in my State

  • Best Companies for High School Internships

  • Internships for Students Interested in . . .

Tip 3: Craft an Impressive Application

When you've found internship opportunities that resonate with your goals, it's time to create a compelling application. Follow these steps:

  • Resume: Tailor your resume to highlight relevant skills, experiences, and achievements. Even if you don't have formal work experience, showcase relevant coursework, projects, volunteer work, or extracurricular activities that demonstrate your skills and enthusiasm.

  • Cover Letter: Write a personalized cover letter for each application. Use this space to explain why you're interested in the internship, how your skills align with the role, and what you hope to gain from the experience. Be concise and showcase your genuine enthusiasm.

  • References: Consider reaching out to teachers, mentors, coaches, or supervisors who can vouch for your character and abilities. Obtaining strong references can enhance your application's credibility.

Keep in mind that every internship is different and that each one has its own unique requirements.

So, my fellow highschoolers wanting to do an internship, remember this journey is uniquely yours. It's about embracing your passions, connecting with like-minded people, and showcasing the incredible person you are. Personally, I struggled a lot at the beginning on how to find an internship, so I hope that these tips will help you find an internship more easily than I did. No matter how hard it is to find an internship, the struggle is worth it. The experience I gained from being an intern prepared me for the job world more than anything else could have.

With these three tips in your pocket, you're already on your way to making your internship dreams a reality!

Internship on Demand bridges the gap between school and career through hands-on work experience at today's most innovative companies. We design, build, and manage tailored pre-internships to reduce recruiting spend, cut training time, and improve intern conversion and employee retention.

Find and apply to our current pre-internship programs here →

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