Should You Create Your Own Internship Opportunity?


Comedian Milton Berle once said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Perhaps Berle had it right – maybe the chance you’re looking for is something you can create yourself.

college studentOn the surface, the market for college internships may seem quite limiting, especially during tough economic times. However, there could be one or more opportunities available, provided you’re willing to do what it takes to help your cause, including working for free.

Marketable Candidate

Allow me to illustrate – you want an internship which would give you the experience needed to help you find work once you graduate. Now more than ever companies are looking for new grads who can bring a wide assortment of tools and experience with them to the workplace. The more you know going in, the better your chances are for securing that position.

Companies don’t mind training employees, but if you can ramp up quickly in your new position, then you’ll be more marketable. The operative word here being marketable — possessing the tools and experience that identifies you to Human Resources personnel as being a solid employee prospect.

Beneficial Internships

When looking for an internship, consider those opportunities which can strengthen your resume. In particular, which local companies offer a foundation from which you can build upon. Identify those accomplishments which would bolster your resume by creating a strategy to interview with companies who can assist you in your quest.

Your college’s career resources department may already have contacts for those companies for whom you want to touch base. Learn from your college what steps are needed to obtain an interview; ask if the company would be open to an “informational interview” if they aren’t currently hiring. Your college representative may be able to offer leads for positions elsewhere, supplying good contact information to provide a springboard for interviews.

Your Proposal

Develop a proposal to submit to a contact who can intercede on your behalf with company management. Perhaps the company’s website could use updating, but their resources are stretched too thin at the moment to tackle the project. If you’re an Information Technology or Business Administration major, then submit your proposal accordingly. You’ll have a visible reference to cite on resume and a grateful as well as effective job reference too.

Of course, there is one unanswered question in all of this – would you be willing to work for no compensation? While you may still be able to get college credit for your intern work, perhaps the company you really want to work for just doesn’t have the funds available to pay you. While working for free may not sound appealing right off the bat, the experience you gain by completing an important project can provide dividends for many years to come.

And in this market, you need every edge that you can gain, even if you must sacrifice short term remuneration for long term career success.

Adv. – No matter how challenging the times may be, you can still find employment if you plan smartly. offers all the tools you need to help you succeed, including job search links and career information at no cost to you.


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Categories: Career Planning