By: Erin M.
What are you planning to do this summer? Take trips to the beach? Start a new project? Hold down a job?
Have you thought about doing an internship?
If you’re like most college students or young people, the answer is probably ‘yes.’ Summer is the perfect time to do one- there are usually a lot more options available to you, the position is usually temporary, (which can be a good thing if you’re going to be going back to school in the fall), and the learning curve is often enormous (so you can expect to get a lot out of it).
I’ve done numerous internships and gained valuable experience from each one of them. I can tell you— they are worth it.
Landing an internship can be easier said than done though, especially with the stiff competition the current job market presents. So what can you do to help land the perfect feminist summer internship?
Here are some tips to help you in your search:
1) Decide What You Want Before You Start Looking
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is entering into an internship that doesn’t really align with your professional goals. You should think about what you want to learn, what type of work environment you want (and what type you’re willing to settle for), and what your pay requirements are. If you don’t live in a large city, I can tell you from experience that finding a feminist internship can be difficult, but if this is the case for you, don’t give up! You may be able to find something local and there are also plenty of online positions out there.
There has been quite a bit of buzz lately about unpaid internships (personally, I have done a couple, but am against them in concept- you deserve to get paid for you work), but be sure to decide for yourself what your own philosophy is. You can usually use pay to filter when sifting through job websites and doing this can help you stick to your guns.
Some internships are considered to be volunteer-based, which if you are wanting the experience but might not have as much time to devote to it, can be a good match. For something to be considered a volunteer based position, it should have flexible hours, allow you to have a say in defining your work, and be driven by wanting to help more than wanting to enhance your professional skills.
2) Network, Network, Network!
Did you know that 41% of jobs are landed through networking? It really does matter!
Reach out to people you know and ask them if they know of any internship opportunities. Talk to friends, classmates, or acquaintances you know who’ve done internships and ask them how they made it happen. If you don’t have a big social network of feminists, reach out to some that you admire or have formed a connection with on social media and ask them if they know of any positions. Reach out to those who run feminist organizations you love and ask them if they’re hiring and pitch yourself!
3) Know (Where Else) To Look
If networking doesn’t bring you any results, sending in applications the old fashioned way is the best way to go.
Looking on Monster usually won’t give you a whole lot that is geared towards feminism, but luckily there are plenty of other places to look.
Websites like Idealist.org and the Feminist Jobs Board will exclusively give you almost results that are geared towards social good, feminism, and non-profit work.
Don’t forget to start following some feminist organizations on Twitter and Facebook— they will almost always post calls for interns there first!
4) Be Prepared
One of the most devastating things is to land an interview for a dream position and then not get the job. This has probably happened (or will happen) to all of us at some point, but it can often be avoided.
First, brush up your resume. Check for typos, make the formatting clear and concise, make any needed updates, and make sure your references are current.
For a cover letter, I recommend making 2 or 3 that hit target points for the various types of positions you’re looking for (maybe one for internships geared towards social media, another for blogging, and another for PR and marketing), since people can tell if you’re using one basic template. Although having these set outline will help, don’t make these templates and just fill-in-the-blank, but rather an outline in which to work off of and customize for each position you apply for. Don’t forget to address why you want a position. Employers want to know why you to work for them, both in the position and at the organization/company.
It is usually better to target a few specific positions instead of machine-gunning your way through applications. Again, people will notice. Focusing on a few positions and putting time and effort into applying for them will get you better results.
In terms of interviewing, if you need some practice, find a friend who can give you a mock interview, and offer to do the same for them. There are sometimes networking groups and support services on campus (if you’re in school) that you can take advantage of to help you in this area as well. If you don’t have access to any of that, try writing a few questions you think you might be asked (‘why are you interested in this position?’ ‘What are you looking to get out of this internship?’) and answer them on the spot. Work on improving your answers and getting rid of any nerves.
Finally, learn about the organization you’re interviewing with. You don’t want to go in not knowing anything, or else you’re going to appear unprepared. Most interviewers will usually ask you if you have any questions for them at the end and it’s always better to ask something, than to not. That’s when this information can come in handy.
Are you looking for an internship or are you planning to intern somewhere this summer? Tell us about your search and don’t forget to check out the rest of our professional resources!