If you’ve been on the internship hunt for a while and your search has been unsuccessful, then you may be feeling frustrated and demotivated. Don’t give up yet! If you can’t find an internship opportunity there’s another option- you can create your own. Here’s how.

Browse job listings online

If you’ve searched for internships online and haven’t gotten any luck, then try browsing regular job listings instead. If a company has a vacancy in a position that you’re looking to intern in, then get in touch and explain your situation. It’s important to be upfront with them about the fact that you’re interested in an internship, and tell them what period of time you’ll be available for.

Use your connections

If you’re struggling to land an internship at a company, it may be because you’re essentially a “stranger” to them. Instead, make sure your friends, family and acquaintances know you’re on the hunt for an internship. That way if they know of a position that’s open, they can refer you to the company and help you form a relationship with them, hopefully leading to an opportunity!

Create a template

If you’re applying to many companies, create an e-mail template for yourself. This template can include a short introduction about who you are and what you’re looking for, as well as your contact information. Just remember to proofread every message before sending it through- the last thing you want is to send them a generic template message!

Negotiating

If you’re contacting a company on your own and they’re interested in you, then you’ll need to negotiate the details of the internship with them prior to starting. How long will you be working for, and what are your working hours? Will you receive a travel and meal allowance from them, an intern salary or no pay at all? Be sure to have all your questions answered, as well as to answer all of their questions honestly, before you begin.

Make it clear

Be very clear about what skills you want to learn during your time at the company. Being upfront from the beginning will ensure that this opportunity is valuable to you. At the end of the internship, be sure to get their permission to use them as a positive reference in future.

Have everything in writing

Remember that although this is just an internship opportunity, it’s still important for you to keep a “paper trail" of your communications with the company. Even if you aren’t signing a physical contract with them, it’s important to at least have the conditions you’ve both agreed to written down for your future reference.

Whether you’re a recent matriculant, graduate or still studying but looking for an internship, you can create your own opportunities by putting yourself out there. Remember to be confident and proactive. Sometimes, that’s the only way to find your lucky break. Good luck!

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