Struggling to find an internship? Found an organization that interests you, but can't find an internship listing? Create your own. Many organizations don't have a formal internship program. However, they may be open to sponsoring a student who expresses a particular interest in their organization. To develop an internship, you'll need to research the organization, prepare for your conversation with the site and then, contact them to set up a telephone or in-person appointment to discuss the possibilities.
This process usually takes three-to-six weeks to complete. The Internship Office can help you develop your proposal and help find out who to contact in the organization.
Research the company
Interested in non-profit organizations? You should review the volunteer opportunities, programs, committees, and events listed on the organization's website. Developing an internship around these existing needs can be a successful way to establish an internship. The volunteer coordinator is usually the first contact in making this proposal.
Interested in a for-profit company? You should research the company's services and products to determine the area where you would like to work. Then, you should identify the best contact by reviewing the web-site or checking with our office to see if there are any Furman connections. If there is no obvious contact person, the company's Human Resources office is often the best contact.
Prepare to make a proposal
Once you've identified the type of organization that you'd like to pursue, you should update your résumé and prepare a proposal to use as a guide for your conversation with the site. You'll want to include:
- Three reasons why you're interested in this particular organization. The organization must recognize that you sincerely want to work specifically with them and be a part of their organization.
- Three things that you want to learn and do. Be as specific as possible to help them identify the appropriate department and sponsor to match your interest.
- Three types of skills or experiences you have that will benefit the organization. It is important that the organization understands that you can make a useful contribution..
- The hours per week and the start and stop date you will be available.
- If any, list your compensation requirements. Since you are proposing an internship, it is likely that there will be no funding budgeted for an intern, so most are unpaid opportunities.
If you know the contact
Your first step is to call the person to let them know you are interested in working with the organization and ask to schedule a telephone or in-person appointment to discuss possible opportunities. In the appointment, tell your contact about your specific interests, using your proposal draft as a guide for your conversation. You should also ask for advice about the types of projects available that might be a good match. Your contact can give you advice on the next steps to take.
If you don't know the contact
Your first step would be to contact the person who is in a position or department that matches your interests. Introduce yourself as a Furman student interested in learning more about the profession and organization and ask if the individual is willing to schedule a telephone or in-person appointment. This first appointment will be a conversation to gain information about the organization and get advice, rather than make a direct request for an internship. During the appointment, you should be prepared to ask questions about the person’s career path and current position, and ask for advice about what to study or do to prepare for this type of career. Then, if you are still interested in pursuing the possibility of an internship, you should ask for advice on how to gain experience within the organization and the next steps to take to formally propose a summer internship.