When it comes to applying for internships, we can often get lost. It’s sometimes very difficult to know where to look and what exactly you should be doing.
When you’re about to graduate from college, you should be thinking about applying for internships in your field – but remember, there’s a lot of competition.
So, how exactly are you supposed to get an engineering internship? You’re about to get the degree but no idea how to break into the field!
Well, in this guide, we’re going to tell you. We’ll help you with what an internship entails and how you can apply for one, along with handy tips for other things you need to be doing in order to break through into your chosen career path.
Table of Contents
What Exactly Is An Internship?
An internship in its most simplest form, is an opportunity that employers offer to prospective candidates. It is a period of work experience, often paid but sometimes it can be on a voluntary basis, that allows you to get “real world” experience in your field of study.
Medical students used to be the only ones that could get an internship, but it has now grown vast and includes fields of study like engineering, finance, business, media and more.
Some bachelors and masters degrees require the student to complete a period at an internship in order to pass their classes.
Either way, an internship is a golden ticket to break through and get first hand experience in your chosen field and you might be offered full time employment by the workplace after a successful period of internship.
Consider an internship as a necessary step in your study and work transition.
What About Engineering Internships?
The thing is, engineering is a very broad term that covers a number of different subjects and specific areas of work and study.
Engineering can include but not be limited to electrical engineering, software engineering, industrial engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, aerospace engineering, biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering.
Engineering is behind everything in our lives that we enjoy. Things as basic as our smartphones, smart speakers and smart watches, things like our transportation that take us all over the country and the world and then space travel!
In fact, things that we take for granted like lighting, heating and running water are all designed and kept up by engineers. As such, the career is very popular and important and the companies that have engineering internships on offer will likely pay very well.
Whichever field of engineering you’re studying, an engineering internship will provide you the platform and guidance to advance your career, which might be with that company.
You’ll develop your technical skills and knowledge, your problem solving logic and your practical skills which are necessary for your position.
So, How Exactly Do I Get An Internship In Engineering?
It’s not just a case of turning up or applying for a vacancy. There’s much more to applying for an internship than some people realize.
However, you will need to formally apply when it comes to it. It’s recommended though that you start by following these steps:
Develop Your Resume
Throughout your life, your resume is going to be extremely important. In order for you to achieve your career goals, your resume needs to remain at its best and as a college student, you might not think you have much to include in your resume.
A resume will be all about your work experience, skills and accomplishments along with your credentials.
It’s unlikely as a college student that you will have a lot to include in terms of work experience in your resume, but it still can outline you such as your skills and personality. This is when a cover letter becomes critical, but we’ll get to that!
If you are having difficulty with writing your resume, you can find helpful tips and good examples online or you can speak with a career’s guidance counselor at your college who should be able to help.
Develop Your Cover Letter
The resume discusses the what, but the cover letter discusses the how and why. A cover letter is critical when applying for any internship, but perhaps more so when it comes to engineering due to the huge competition.
Ensure that you write a professional standard cover letter that outlines your skills and experience and discusses how your college experience can be put into practice with the company, along with how the internship fits in line with your career goals.
They need to know that you’re the person they should pick – help them do that!
Search For Vacancies
Where exactly, and who exactly, you’re looking for will depend on the area of engineering you’re studying.
However, there are some common things to do. You’ll likely want to be using search engines to find internship vacancies in specific locations that suit you.
You can search on social media, LinkedIn, job boards and ask at your college.
You can even contact a specific company if you have your heart set on them and ask them if you can send a prospective application, if they are not formally advertising a vacancy.
You should also be asking your family and friends if they know anybody that works in the field, as they might be able to help get you on the career ladder.
Prepare For Interview
If you’ve received an offer for an interview, great! You now need to prepare well.
Ensure that you’ve researched the internship, the company and the interviewers (if you can).
Make sure you’ve thought about some questions they might ask you, but also questions you would like to ask. The more you’ve researched, the easier this part will be.
Always make sure that you’re getting enough sleep before your interview, dress appropriately, arrive on time and remain calm, friendly and professional. You’ll be fine.
Engineering internships are broad and can be easy to find, but it requires you to do a bit of digging and your homework to advance your career. Always bear in mind people that can help you at your college and at home and don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you can.