Internships are time-honored traditions for some types of work, but sometimes they’re less popular for other types. People have interned for years at the White House, in not for profits, churches, schools and other businesses. The reason is that it’s a great way to learn the ropes of any new venture you want to be part of. If you want to learn how to bake the best bread in the world, intern for the best baker in the world.
But, how do you find internships for companies that aren’t even looking for one? It’s not as hard as you think if you are willing to offer your services free in exchange for learning. The key, though, in terms of the government and following their rules, is that free internships especially must benefit you (the intern) more than it benefits the business owner. However, you can make this a win-win for you both if you present it right.
Research the Company
When you’ve chosen a company you want to work with, get to know everything you can about them. That’s the only way to identify where you can assist them and help them improve something about their business using your skills, while they teach you a new skill.
Send an Exploratory Letter
When you’ve identified a company that you want to intern with, use the research you completed to compose a letter to them explaining what you can do for them and why you want to do it. Include what you know about them in the letter, and let them know that you really want to work with them.
Ask for an Interview
Within your letter, ask for an interview. Tell them you’d love to talk to them further about how you can help their business or organization at no charge to them for a specific amount of time. Having a start and end date for your internship is important, because you don’t want to work free forever.
Update Your Resume
When they ask for your resume you want to be prepared. Keep your resume updated and ready to go for any opportunities that arise for you. You can keep your LinkedIn profile up to date too and send potential internship opportunities your LinkedIn information. But, you want a paper resume to give to them during your interview.
Demonstrate What You Can Already Do
Experience comes in many forms. Show what you can already do and how it translates to being able to help the business that you want to intern with. For example, if you’ve built a good social media following for yourself, there is no reason you can’t build a good social media following for that business.
Update Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn gives you an amazing way to demonstrate your skills to the public and to share with others. Use every part of LinkedIn including your resume, videos, images, publishing articles and more to make people take notice of you.
You can literally create an internship just for you and customized for you. That will help you advance yourself if you seek out the business, make your offer, and then follow through. Do what you say you will do, and better than they are expecting.