The good thing about finding writing internships is that there are many different types of internships, each specializing in a specific style of writing. This means that whether you’re interested in creative writing, medical writing, or even writing for the corporate world, you should be able to find something that suits your needs. Contrary to what some people believe, there are both paid and unpaid internships, so you can always find one that pays a little something if you can’t afford to work for free.
All Types of Internships Are Now Available
For the most part, internships can be divided into three different categories:
- Paid internships, which can pay per-hour rates that are quite high.
- Unpaid internships, which you don’t get paid at all.
- Virtual, or telecommuting internships, which are gaining in popularity.
Such as regular jobs, internships usually require that you work a certain number of hours and that you perform certain duties. Since most of these jobs can now be found online, it is easy to read their descriptions and learn everything about the job so that you can decide for yourself if you want to work for that particular company.
Since most internships are offered to college students or those right out of college, you’ll also need to make sure you have the prerequisites the company is looking for, which can include a certain amount of experience or certain types of experience in writing. These things are easy to find out if you read their job description thoroughly and pay attention to the deadlines so that your chances of getting the internship are increased.
If you’re interested in getting the perfect internship to advance your dream of becoming a writer, here are a few tips and suggestions to follow:
- Start early! You can’t wait until the spring to apply for an internship that starts in the fall. You should check the career services departments at your school to learn about the deadlines for the different programs.
- Don’t be too specific about what you want to do. You may be interested in news reporting, but end up with an internship in creative writing, but not to worry. Writing is writing, and you’ll learn a lot about writing in general, regardless of what you end up with.
- Check online resources just like you do resources that your school offers. You can check company websites, such as www.internships.com, and even both online and offline classified ads to find the internship that works best for you.
- Network with faculty members, career counselors, and advisors both on and off campus to learn how they might be able to help you. Even alumni from your school can provide you with invaluable information that may help you find the perfect internship.
- Career fairs can also provide the information you need, because a lot of companies attend these fairs just to find interns for their programs. If you do this, practice a one-minute introduction so that you can be prepared when you talk to these companies.
- Contact local companies by phone or email and ask them if they are offering any type of writing internships or summer programs. Focus especially on the companies offering summer jobs, because these types of jobs can be beneficial in providing you with the experience you need.
- Keep in mind that internships are not just for college students or recent graduates. If you are interested in a career change, these types of programs can prove to be invaluable for you.
An internship is technically a job specifically designed for trainees or students who wish to gain experience in a real work environment, either with or without pay, and there are millions of companies that offer these internships on a regular basis. In other words, you shouldn’t have to look far to find a good internship to participate in.
The Importance of an Internship
A lot of people underestimate the importance of an internship, but they can provide much more than just a way to gain experience in your field. Many people are offered a permanent job once their internship ends, so they don’t have to go through the gruelling process of trying to find a job after they graduate.
In addition, internships of all kinds provide the student with a lot of practical, hands-on knowledge that you simply can’t get out of a textbook. Even better, students who graduate from college with an internship under their belt tend to start out with higher salaries than people who never participate in an internship. Employers consider these internships to be very valuable for prospective employees.
If you’re looking for the perfect internship, here are some tips to take into consideration:
- Treat the search seriously, just like you would a search for a permanent job.
- Even if you intend to be a writer for a book publisher, for example, that doesn’t mean you can’t accept an internship from a smaller company, a not-for-profit company, or many others.
- Don’t discount the internships that do not offer a salary; they can be just as effective in what they offer you as companies that offer paid internships.
- You should also consider internships for small businesses, start ups, and even governmental agencies.
- Make sure you write a well-organized, professional resume with no typos or grammatical errors.
- Get recommendations from teaching assistants, professors, and student employers.
- Don’t forget to include all relevant experience on your resume, because this is what employers are looking for the most.
- If you want to be a writer, start a blog and make sure you have social media pages that show off your work. Don’t forget to promote those pages, either.
- If you write for your campus newspaper, make sure this experience is on your resume, even if you didn’t get paid.
- Don’t forget an excellent, error-free cover letter to go along with your resume. You should also personalize your cover letter and mention something specific about the company you’re applying to.
- If you want to appear even more professional, you can design your own letterhead and business cards, and even personalized thank-you cards.
- When you network or go on an interview, make sure you follow up so they know you are still interested in the position. The follow-up message should be short and sweet.
- If you have a class writing assignment that shows off your talent and which you did well at, provide a link to that assignment on your resume, business cards, and so on.
The perfect writing internships are out there, and there are a lot of things you can do to find them and apply to them. When you are looking to network, don’t forget about campus mixers and events sponsored by your local chamber of commerce and any other local business, because this is a great way to find out which internships are available in your local community.
Making Contacts Goes a Long Way
Networking also provides another huge advantage. When companies are interviewing for interns, they are naturally going to be more impressed by seeing someone walk through the door that they’ve already met. Once you network and get to know certain people at the companies you’d like to intern for, that familiarity goes a long way in eventually helping you get that prized internship.
If you do meet someone you’re impressed with while networking, ask that person if there are others at the company that you can also meet. The more people you know at a specific company, the more likely you are to get the internship you were hoping for and wanting. Networking is a tremendous way to get to know people who will eventually expose you to the internships that are available at their company.
Most importantly, if a contact informs you there are no internships available at their company, but you are still interested in that company, don’t give up on that person just yet. Keep your networking contacts close by, and keep in touch with them regularly so that when something changes, you can learn about it quickly and apply for the internship that’s available. There is no such thing as an unimportant contact.
Another consideration when developing a list of contacts is this: make sure you are willing to reciprocate in the end. Once you do get hired by a certain company, make sure you are willing to “pay it forward” and help a prospective intern get his/her foot in the door if you are asked to. After all, someone was willing to do this for you, so you should be willing to do the same for other people.
Using Social Media to Get the Perfect Internship
Everyone knows that using social media to find and apply to jobs is one of the biggest advantages of living in today’s technologically advanced world, and finding an internship this way is no different. Although many people use pages such as Facebook just to keep up with friends’ activities and show off what they themselves are doing, social media is also a great way to get that coveted internship you’ve been wanting.
Once you have perfected both your cover letter and resume and you are ready to start sending them out, don’t forget to include a short sentence or two via email to let them know why you are sending these to the company. Such as your cover letter, your email should be error free, and remember that an email should never take the place of a professionally written cover letter.
If you have links to your social media pages, feel free to include them in your information. Most employers appreciate the fact that you are social media savvy, because social media pages are a very important part of most business’ promotional and marketing efforts. In fact, many businesses hire employees to run their Twitter and other social media accounts, so showing them that you are efficient at this task can go a long way to improve your image.
One additional detail that is extremely important is your follow-up thank-you note. Regardless of how tempting it is to do so, never send a prospective employer a virtual thank-you note. You want that piece of writing to be professional and hand written. Not only is that thank-you note a must – you should always send one – it should be a real note, on real paper, in your own handwriting.
In addition to these, there are other tips and suggestions that are very important when you’d like to use social media to find writing internships, and here are a few of them:
- Try to have more than one social media page; for example, have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Pinterest accounts to show how tech savvy you are.
- If you’re interested in a certain company, try tweeting about how much you love them. There’s a good chance the company will see that tweet and appreciate it.
- Become a user or fan of the company you are interested in interning for, and brag about it on your social media pages.
- Make sure your social media pages are professional – that means getting rid of those goofy pictures you took of yourself at that last party – and that you use those pages to highlight your assets.
- Make yourself stand out by listing your qualifications and why hiring you is such a smart idea on their part.
Of course, you can also visit their social media pages, “like” or join those pages, and keep up with the company that way. It is very possible that when an internship opportunity does arise, you can learn about it quickly through their pages, enabling you to be one of the first people to apply for the job.
And That Isn’t All …
Using social media is a great way to discover internships that are available, in part because many companies visit social media sites to find the perfect intern for current and future positions. If you don’t already at least have a Facebook page, you need to get one. Keep it professional, and make sure you treat it like a resume. You also want to make sure the pages are updated at all times, and don’t forget to set your privacy setting so that prospective employers can find you.
You can also increase the odds of discovering which writing internships are out there by following these tips and suggestions:
- Stay connected with alumni and your college in case they post anything about internship opportunities.
- Take advantage of the various apps that are available which can help you find the internship you want. Apps such as CareerAmp and others can be invaluable.
- Stay on top of your accounts. Never go a long time without checking on or updating the sites, because you might miss something if you do.
- Remain proactive. Check the sites of the companies you’re interested in working for regularly. You should also join or subscribe to various industry groups and companies to keep up with any opportunities that might arise.
- Don’t be shy about posting on your sites that you are looking for opportunities, because you’ll need your readers’ help to stay on top of things.
Of course, staying up to date on your social media pages doesn’t replace the need to continue networking and looking for internship opportunities in other ways. In today’s competitive business world, it is crucial that you use all of the options available to you if your goal is to get that internship you’ve been hoping for.
Why Should You Consider an Internship?
Internships aren’t just “go-fer” jobs in most cases, and they can provide valuable real-world experience that you can’t get anywhere else. Even when they don’t offer you any type of salary, internship experience always looks good on a resume and in fact, it is something that many employers specifically look for when they’re interviewing for their next employee.
Internships offer a lot of different advantages to interns, including the following:
- Most importantly, internships offer real-world experience in a variety of fields.
- You can get a good feel for the job you’d like to get after you graduate.
- They can help you choose a specialty area if you’re unsure about what type of writing you’d like to do.
- They improve your self confidence and motivation.
- They provide a great opportunity to begin the networking process.
- They increase your worth in the work world.
- Internships are valuable additions to your resume.
As mentioned earlier, many employers specifically look for internship experience when reviewing resumes for open positions. This is especially true for companies with entry-level positions that usually end up receiving resumes from recent college graduates. These people usually have very little or no practical work experience, but an internship shows employers that you are serious about your career goals and that you’ve already taken a step towards fulfilling those goals.
Another advantage to an internship is that it may show you that you are on the wrong career path. If you are working an internship and find the job isn’t for you, you can change your major before it is too late and focus on another career instead. This is much better than graduating and finding through your first job that you’ve chosen the wrong career.
You can also gain valuable time-management skills when you accept an internship. After all, being a college student involves a hectic schedule where no two days are ever alike, but once you have a real job that has to change. Time-management skills become essential for being successful in the workforce, and these skills will naturally be learned once you accept an internship somewhere.
Think of your internship as a building block. Your career is going to consist of lots of building blocks that have to be in the right order for you to benefit from them. Accepting an internship is a great foundational building block that you can use to build on in the future. In short, writing internships are a great starting point for a very productive and lucrative career.
Ways to Increase the Odds of Getting the Perfect Internship
Before you decide to look for that perfect internship, you have to know what you’re looking for. Do you want an internship that offers work in your area of interest, or will any writing job do? Do you want to work for a small company or a large corporation? Do you want to work for a television station or newspaper, or for one of the other thousands of companies that need writers? Once you answer these questions, you can focus specifically on the types of companies that will do the most good.
Keep in mind that nearly every company needs writers, so if you have a specific area of interest – for example, the environment or animal rights – you can look for companies that offer work related to these areas and kill two birds with one stone. This way, you can get valuable writing experience and some experience in the area you are most passionate about.
You can also find the right company by prospecting, which involves contacting a variety of companies to determine what their opportunities are for writing, marketing, and so on. This is a proactive approach that is often very successful, and below are some things to remember if you choose this path:
- Identify companies that normally don’t advertise their job opportunities, especially if they offer work in other areas you are interested in.
- Always contact the company directly. They may even have upcoming opportunities that they haven’t yet advertised, giving you the chance to be one of the first ones to apply.
- If you’re in a small town, prospecting may be your only chance to find a good internship, so it is smart to get good at it.
- Be organized and write down when your interviews take place, when you should send your thank-you note, and any details that you feel you need to remember.
- If you don’t get an internship, consider doing some volunteer work with a company that you can learn from, even if the experience you’ll receive isn’t specifically in your area of interest.
Landing the job of your dreams always involves getting your foot in the door, and often the best way to do that is to accept an internship or volunteer position. After you get the position, you’ll still have to prove yourself, but getting hired in the first place is usually the hardest step. Once you’re there, you can start to shine and show your employers why hiring you was the right decision to make!
There are also other things you can do to find various types of writing internships, including:
- Identify what your goals are. Determine what type of work you’d like to do and which type of company you’d like to be a part of.
- Polish up your resume and media profiles so they are perfect, and ask for feedback so that you know they are ready to be shared with prospective employers.
- Always research the companies before you apply for jobs with them so that you get the right fit in the end.
- Make sure you follow the rules set forth by the company step by step. Don’t get over anxious and provide them with things they didn’t ask for, but always include what they want from you.
Following directions is something companies look for, so get familiar with their process of applying for the internship so that they get what they want from you and nothing else. This is the perfect way to start the job-seeking process and will let them know you are a serious candidate right from the beginning.
Some Final Thoughts
An internship is a great way to start your writing career because it gives you real-world experience not just in writing, but in dressing professionally, interacting with colleagues, and many other things that will be considered important once you land your first job. Preparing for that internship is an important part of the process, but once you learn a few do’s and don’ts, you can land that internship before you know it.