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Summer Internships For Everyone!

An internship is a great opportunity. You get to test out career possibilities first-hand, meet people who can later write you great recommendation letters, fill up your college and scholarship applications with experiences, and learn about a subject, real-world-style! Who would pass up a chance like that? Well, if an internship sounds like a great idea, but seems impossible, listen up.

We at the CollegeBound Network realize that not everyone lives in a place where internships are abundant and easily found. Interning should definitely be an equal opportunity no matter where you are. If there isn't a wide array of internship listings available to you, don't worry -- you can make your own. "It's not that hard to do," says Marianne Green, author of Internship Success and Majoring in Success: Building Your Career While Still in College.

Learning Where to Look
It's not that local organizations without internship programs are against the idea of having an intern, explains Green, it's just that they don't always realize how an intern could help them or don't have the time to go looking for one.

"You may be very welcome when you call them," adds Green. "Almost nobody is ever turned away," she adds confidently -- especially when you're an intern-volunteer (meaning they don't have to pay you!).

If a self-made internship is something you'd like for the summer, says Green, you'll first need to scope out possibilities. The best places for high school students to find internships are at non-profit and volunteer organizations. Interning at one of these organizations doesn't mean that you will only be a volunteer, however. You can get involved in event planning, promotions, article writing, and more. And finding these corporations is simple. (Try surfing Yahoo!'s yellow pages under "Community".)

There are more than just non-profit organizations out there, too. If you're interested in film or photography, look into a photo lab. Or, if government is your game, call up your town clerk (in the phone book's blue government pages). For those interested in business or marketing, keep watch for a new store or one that's promoting heavily (e.g., always distributing flyers). Other places to think about are physician's offices, local newspapers, or religious institutions.

Getting Prepared to Apply
Once you've got your target in sight, prepare your resume and make it the very best it can be. (If you need help, see "Internship Resources" below.) Next, write a cover letter. Make sure you state in the letter that you will be calling on a specific day (choose one that is five to seven days later) to discuss the possibilities of an internship, advises Green.

Important: Address the cover letter to a specific individual and mention at least two things you want to learn at the internship (e.g., work with cancer patients, learn the inner workings of a business, write promotional material, etc.), she adds. To find a specific person to whom you should address the letter, call and ask who's in charge of hiring. Or, ask for the name of the person in the job position you'd like to learn about and/or intern for.

Then, on the day you specified, call the person -- you can say they are expecting you, says Green. "You're shooting with two barrels -- you've got the letter and you're following up with the phone call," she emphasizes. It's harder to ignore a phone call that has been preempted with a letter, she elaborates. Use the phone call to set up a convenient time for you to come in and discuss the possibilities of an internship. Once you obtain an appointment, dress appropriately for it. It's really an informal "interview."

Once Your Foot's In the Door
Keep in mind that if hired, you'll probably have to perform some menial tasks, like answering phones and handing out flyers, for the company. Don't get discouraged. Instead, confront each and every task as a learning experience. Read what you're making 1,000 copies of, listen closely to a meeting's wrap-up when you're clearing the conference table of lunch, and observe how day-to-day duties are delegated among key staff. Such knowledge can enable you to apply valuable workplace etiquette, experience, and exposure to your future career endeavor.

If you want to really improve your chances of getting that internship, says Green, don't ask for payment. The idea is that your time will pay off in experience.

Soon, school will be out for summer, so now's the time to put your go-getter attitude to use! No matter where you live, there's an internship nearby that will make your summer memorable.

Internship Resources:
About.com's resume samples: http://jobsearch.about.com/jobs/jobsearch/msubressamp.htm
Rising Star Internships: www.rsinternships.com


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