And this will help you avoid the second deadly, yet common internship ~ The Shadow Internship. That is when they put you onto the CEO or some other important person in the organization and say that you will “shadow”, or follow them around for a week. This could be interesting, but it is highly unlikely that you will contribute anything in that kind of internship. I also always suggest when you are looking at internships that you see whether you can break it up into two or three periods during different vacations in your 11th and 12th grade. You will get a better idea of where you can add value and in the second or third time may really be able to contribute something. This also looks great to admissions, as it shows commitment in consistency of focus over time.
Brainstorm on the possibilities!
The first place to look for an internship is with your own family and family friends. If you have done the discovery process above, it will be easier for others to hone in on opportunities. When you do connect to a possibility, suggest an introduction, but then take it on yourself. Use the introduction as an opportunity to “sell” yourself based on what you are looking for, your goals and expectations. I guarantee that it will impress that “family friend” and lead to a more meaningful role. Also, don’t forego your own family business, if that is a possibility. It is easier to believe that your mom or dad allowed you greater access than it is to imagine Ernst and Young really let you get that involved!
There are also organizations that help students find internships, but these programs are not inexpensive. I would also suggest that you check with your seniors in school and counselor to see what previous students have done, as the companies that they have worked with may be more comfortable with hosting high school students.
Finally, let’s not forget that just the act of some good hard work is a commendable thing. In fact, for most students in the US and UK, internships are not that accessible either. Instead, delivering the newspaper, baby-sitting and mowing lawns will be on their resumes. Nothing wrong with understanding the value of money through the sweat of the brow!