How to find an internship in high school
Knowing how to find an internship in high school can help you stand out in the college admissions process and provide you with many more benefits. You can read more about the benefits of internships in high school! I’m a high school senior who was able to find two internships in high school using my cold-calling method that you will read about below.
Look online | How to find an internship in high school
Before going to other means such as cold-calling and cold-emailing companies for an internship, you want to see what internship opportunities are available to high schoolers in your area by typing into Google “(your subject of interest) high school internships in (the city you live in).” If you want to broaden your search you can type in “high school internships in (the city you live in).” Internship opportunities that you find online typically have an application process that requires writing some essays and potentially even a recommendation letter from a teacher. If you are trying to get a summer internship, you should start looking for and applying to these online ones around December. Many competitive summer internships for high schoolers tend to close their applications around January and February. You can find a master list of high school internships on the home page of horizonworldwide.org (the website you’re on now!). If you are in Chicago, I also made a blog that lists out internships for high school students in Chicago that you can apply for online.
Cold-call, cold-email, and ask around | How to find an internship in high school
If you see that there are no high school internship opportunities in your location in your area of interest, you can proceed to methods such as cold-calling and cold-emailing. Cold-calling and cold-emailing mean that the person you are calling/emailing typically doesn’t know who you are. It is an unsolicited call/email where you are trying to get a good or service, in this case an internship. I did both when I was finding an internship in high school. Cold-calling might be more effective for how to find an internship in high school because you are actually talking physically to a person, and I landed both a website development internship and digital marketing through cold-calling using the Google Maps cold-calling method I am about to describe. To find emails and phone numbers of people, the way I did it was I went to Google Maps and typed in places I want to intern for near you like I typed in “website development companies near me” into Google Maps and then started calling the companies that popped up. I got the phone numbers from their Google Map pin AKA their Google My Business. You should click Google Maps pins that are near your location and call them so that you can get an internship in your area.
See the below screenshot of this process:
On these Google Map Pins, you will see that most have a button with the word website. If you want to get the email of the company, you can click this button to go to that company’s website and find their contact email on the website. It’s also a good idea to just ask people for internships who you find interesting.
Make a resume and cover letter to find an internship in high school
Making a resume is an important step to finding an internship in high school. Usually, high school internships that you apply for require you to submit a resume in your application. It is also best practice if you are emailing a person and asking them for an internship, to include your resume as an attachment to your email. If you are also cold-calling people, if the person is slightly interested in you, they might ask you to email them your resume. Generally, resumes contain your work experience, and because you’re in high school, you can also add your school extracurriculars. You should also add any awards you have. You also want to include your name, email, and phone number.
Your skills on paper
A resume is a summary of your skills and background that you can attach to almost every application. Keep your resume short and to the point. On average, recruiters spend six seconds per resume. Include:
- Contact information
- Previous employment
- Award or certification
- Volunteer experiences
Send a cover letter for an internship
It would look really good for you to send a cover letter along with your resume. While the resume provides a concise list of your skills, the cover letter allows you to express yourself. Always Include it if you are given the opportunity. This is a one page letter that explains your interest in the organization and what contributions you are looking to make. You should also explain why you are interested in this internship. It is helpful to tell a compelling story, which keeps recruiters interested.
Let your cover letter and resume sit for a while before you go back to review them. You can check for errors online with a spell-checker or grammar tool. However, it is a good idea to share them with people you trust. These people will be able suggest structural edits or remind you of skills you may have forgotten to highlight. Keep updating your cover letter and resume as you gain experience.
How to master the internship application process
You will find new internship listings all the time. Make sure you regularly check your sources to ensure that you have the most current information. It is important to consider your timeline when searching. Many places start hiring months ahead.
For example, summer internships are usually posted in November. They also have deadlines in early winter, even though the start date may be in May or June. You will be able to start your search earlier and avoid having to rush to submit materials.
This is where organization will be crucial. It can be difficult to manage internship applications, deadlines, and other details. To keep track of everything, create a calendar or virtual spreadsheet. Most businesses expect their employees to be familiar with basic technology. It’s not a bad idea to learn more about it.
Once you have found the ideal internship opportunity, it is time to apply.
It is important to remember that employers want to make a good impression of you. However, every individual will have their own ideas about what that looks like. You will have different strengths than me, and vice versa. Be mindful of your own motivations, dreams, and qualities when considering each component. Here’s how:
- Your skills on paper
- Send a cover letter
- Make a digital presence
- Get references
- Get ready for interviews
Make a digital presence
Your digital presence has two sides: the professional and personal. The first is information you post for the benefit your professional networks. After listing your accomplishments on Indeed or LinkedIn, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
When creating professional profiles, use a professional headshot. You don’t need to have it professionally taken; a well-lit smartphone photo will suffice. Make sure that you are wearing the appropriate work attire. Also, crop the photo from the shoulders upwards.
When you browse through feeds, look out for opportunities to create your own narrative. You can post about your experiences on networking websites. Take the time to explain why you think it is important and what it has taught you. You can also pay attention to the posts of your coworkers and congratulate them for their achievements.
Your personal profile does not have to be so carefully curated. However, employers can search for it. So, here are some social media rules:
- Do not post hateful content on your private Facebook page.
- Online gossiping about your boss and coworkers is not a good idea.
- Post with integrity
- Remember, what you post online is a reflection of your real-life values
Referees are crucial to the success of a potential internship. Make sure you choose people who are familiar with your work and can vouch for your strengths. These can include:
- Your teacher should be able to vouch for you work ethic
- Your school counselor
- Your boss or manager
- Leaders of the organization you have volunteered with
Your family and friends will be able to speak highly of you. However, it is best to not list them as references. These are people who are qualified to give you professional advice. You shouldn’t list someone who boasts impressive credentials, but doesn’t know much about you. This is your opportunity to show how you behave on a daily basis.
Some applications only require you to give the email addresses and phone numbers of your contacts. However, it is important to confirm that your references consent to being listed.
It takes longer to obtain letters of recommendation, especially during college applications season. Give at least one month notice so you can plan ahead. Your resume and a summary of your career goals should be provided to your recommenders. This will allow them to tailor a letter that matches your application. Employers may request a copy your high school transcript. You can get this from your school. You can request a note from your school’s guidance office, college centre, or career center if you have had any gaps in enrollment or a sudden decrease in grades because of family problems, mental health issues, or other hardships.
Get ready for interviews
Remember that interview should be approached with humanity. You don’t have to be nervous. Just be yourself and show what you can bring to the internship. This is not only a chance to meet your employer, but it’s also a chance to see how the business works. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the company and the job environment.
Practically speaking, arrive at least an hour before your interview starts. This will allow you to prepare and protect against traffic jams and other unexpected obstacles.
A copy of your resume is a good idea to bring to the interviewer so they can refer to it throughout the interview. Dress professionally. It will vary depending on where you are applying, but it is important to be professional. You should dress professionally if your interview is online.
Review common interview questions before you go to interview. Practice answering them. Although responses don’t need to be written, you should have an idea of the questions and what experiences you would like to share. These are the most frequently asked questions:
- Which are your biggest strengths and which are your weaknesses?
- What are you most interested in working there?
- What can you do to help our company succeed?
- Can you describe a difficult situation, and how did you overcome it?
- How can you effectively manage your time?
- Could you share a story about a time you were a leader or part of a team?
If you want to do research in high school you can read my guide on how to find research opportunities in high school.
You can read my post about computer science internships for high school students.
You can read my post about business internships for high school students.
You can read my post about medical internships for high school students.