Dear Ilana and Jess: I know it’s January, but my daughter is a senior this year, and I want her to get an internship this summer. Is it too soon to start looking? How would she even begin? — Sal
Dear Sal: The short answer is no: It’s never too soon to start. Quite the opposite; January is a popular time of the year to begin looking for internships. Positions fill up quickly, and those who apply early may get an edge over other applicants.
As we would recommend for any other large and intimidating task, break it down into smaller steps. When you start planning an internship, you want to think about your goals. If your daughter is certain, for example, that she wants to do a premed track in college, she might focus her search to local hospitals, clinics, or other medical facilities. If your daughter wants to discover what it is she likes, start by outlining areas of interest. The high school and college years are ideal for exploration. The opportunity for experimentation can fade quickly in the post-graduate years, so now’s the time to dig deep and think about interests that were previously unexplored.
Have your daughter list out her hobbies, like photography or reading poetry. Make sure she lists as many hobbies as she can think of, so that you’re casting a wide net. Next, Google some corresponding, professional terms. It’s also a good idea to use location-specific searches, so that you’re filtering out jobs that are inaccessible. With that said, if you live near a major city, it’s always a good idea to include the metropolitan area, because the opportunities will open up drastically. Following this example, your daughter might Google, “writing and publication internships near (enter your zip code),” or “photography internships near (enter your zip code).” Don’t forget to try zip codes for other, nearby areas.
Make use of the free resources available to you. If your daughter is in high school, have her speak with her teachers and guidance counselor about professional development opportunities. Have your daughter ask them if there’s any scholarship, collegiate, nonprofit or internship programs they believe she would enjoy/be right for. If your daughter is in college, have her speak with her academic advisor, professors; have her make an appointment with the career counseling center as well. Some universities — and even high schools — post about jobs and internships internally. Many times, recruiters will visit high schools and colleges with the intent of finding promising students. (As an important aside - when your daughter is conducting this outreach, make sure she knows how to write a professional email.)
If your daughter finds an unpaid internship she’s really interested in, but doesn’t want to give up summer income, she can ask her internship to participate part-time. Regardless of whether this is an option, have your daughter look into freelance work, or other jobs that offer flexibility — anything from babysitting to retail, temp work, etc.
In sum, don’t wait to start that internship search. Best of luck to your daughter!
Say This: “Let’s make sure we have a plan to help you get an internship you’re excited about. I want you to have your choice, so the sooner we start, the better. First, make a list of the interests and hobbies you’re passionate about. Then, do a Google search for internships in our area using related terms, like: ‘writing and publication internships near (enter our zip code).’ I also want you to make an appointment with the career counseling center, reach out to your professors and academic adviso about opportunities they might know of.”
Not That: “You really need to get an internship this summer.”
Next week, we’re going to answer a related question we received about how to help your new graduate create a strong resume. Stay tuned!
Say This, Not That is based on the work of Cognition Builders: a global, educational company headed by Ilana Kukoff (Founder & CEO) and Jessica Yuppa Huddy (Chief Learning Officer). Everywhere from New York City to California to Shanghai to Zurich, the Cognition Builders team is called upon by A-list entertainers, politicians, CEOs, and CFOs to resolve the conflicts that upend everyday life. When their work is done, the families they serve are stronger than ever. With their new book, Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter Kukoff and Yuppa Huddy have selected the most common conversational mistakes parents make, and fixed them. For more information, please visit: https://cognitionbuilders.com. To purchase Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter visit: http://publishing.andrewsmcmeel.com/books/detail?sku=9781449488055.
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