No one knows what you want out of an internship better than you. Finding your own internship demonstrates the independence, communications skills, and assertiveness that U.S. host employers look for in potential interns. We’d like to share five additional benefits to taking charge of your search:
Set yourself up for success by making sure your internship is the right fit for you. Ask yourself what skills you'd like to gain or improve upon; where do you want your internship to take you? You can (and should) bounce ideas off of friends, family members, students, or colleagues and use their suggestions in the internship search. Ultimately, when you are the one finding and choosing your internship, you will be happiest with the outcome.
Avoid placement fees
Placement and other internship matching agencies can be very expensive and may not always work in your best interest. Placement agencies may charge thousands of dollars, yet the companies they work with may not be a good fit for you; you could end up paying more for a mediocre internship experience. By finding your own internship, you can eliminate the placement fee and keep your costs down.
Direct employer contact (With as many companies as you want!)
There are no limits to the number of internships you can apply to or how many companies you contact and connect with. You’ll be the one ensuring that your CV/resume is reaching the most companies and only those companies where you want to intern, ensuring the best match for you.
Practice language and intercultural communication skills
If English is not your first language, you have the opportunity to show off your English language skills and get a head start on learning professional communications in the U.S. Check out our tips for applying for internships.
Networking and future career preparation
The internship search process itself will provide you with many skills that you’ll draw upon when applying for your first real job. When you search for that next position, no one will be helping you apply, so take advantage of the practice you'll get now!
An important networking point to keep in mind: even if an employer isn't accepting interns right now, they may be able to connect you with someone else in the industry who is or keep you in mind future internship opportunities.
Found your own internship? Congrats! Sign up and start your journey.
Allison joined the InterExchange team in 2011 and holds a B.A. in International Affairs and an M.A. in Higher Education. She oversees the daily operations of the Career Training USA program where she has the privilege of working with students and professionals from around the world pursuing U.S. internships and training programs. Allison is originally from Massachusetts and studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina.