How Can Students Get Paid Internships?

Carmina Bayombong

Adulting is hard. There are bills to pay, ID’s to get and work to be done! If only there’s a tutorial for these things, right? Well, while there are no tutorials per se, there are blogs and articles online that are helpful for government processes and life hacks but what about work?

How can a student practice for a job they can’t get hired for just yet?

One word — internships. Internships provide exposure and practice for students in their future field of work. Educational institutions understand that there are things that can not be taught in the classroom setting. This is shown by some schools and courses requiring their students to put in a certain number of hours for their internships.

While internships provide exposure and an environment where practical application of theories can be done, it also requires a lot of time and effort. Knowledge is golden, but it doesn’t hurt to be paid for hard work, right? So how does a student land a paid internship in the Philippines?

Be clear about your goals and non-negotiables.

Know what you want to get out of the internship the most. Ideally, everyone would land a well-compensated internship in their field and company of choice, however, it’s not always the case. Before searching for companies to apply to, get your pen and paper out and list your priorities in order. What do you want to accomplish the most? Are you looking for a mentor? Or are you looking for a great network of people? Is your goal to have the most exposure to the field of your choosing?

Align your steps and mindset to your goals.

Research about the companies.

One common mistake students make when applying for internships is just applying to those who are open and available. Of course, there are companies who go school-to-school or to career fairs to promote their company and this is a good place to start. However, there are also other companies who might not be as aggressive with their search and it’s the students’ job to find them.

Once you’ve got a list of companies you’re interested in, you can now dive into researching their background. Some important questions related to internships are:
  • How many hours are their internships?

  • What are their compensation packages for interns?

  • What are the job opportunities in the company after graduation?

You can even ask older batchmates who’ve finished their internships about their experience in the companies. Use every source of information available to you. While company profiles and online articles suffice, nothing beats first-hand information.

Customize your resume.

Having a resume is one thing, having it customized per each internship application is another. It’s like comparing level 1 to level 10, it’s a big jump. Like people, companies also develop their brand voice and persona and it’s a big aspect of their hiring process.

Now that you’ve done your research, the next step is to customize your resume to tailor-fit it to the internship role and company you chose. Impress the HR head with your assertiveness by highlighting the strengths you have that best fit the company. For example, for a data company, you can highlight your coding skills more and make it stand out.

Don’t sleep on smaller companies.

Small businesses, perhaps like your aunt’s or uncle’s, are usually understaffed. If you value experience and getting exposed to a wider set of tasks to create a balanced skillset, you might want to take a look at this vertical.

While they may not offer large compensations, they usually have shorter hours that you could sign up and complete ahead of time, giving you an additional edge when it comes to applying for larger businesses.

Learn how to negotiate.

You’ve got your foot into the door, and they’ve offered you an internship. Instead of being set in receiving the stipend, if you feel like it’s not gonna happen, bring out your negotiation skills. Your skills have value, use them to your advantage.

Try negotiating for your stipend by highlighting the jobs your internship will cover. Alternatively, you could try negotiating for transport and food allowance, product and service discounts, and the like.

Getting internships can be very competitive. However, with the tips above, you might just land your dream internship with compensation to boot! Remember, it’s about going beyond what is offered. Research well, prepare well and negotiate to the best of your abilities. Everything is a learning process.

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