5 Tips to Land a Paid Internship in the Technology Sector

Paid internships can seem very scarce, especially in a competitive industry like media and technology. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to slave away for no pay, buoyed by the idea that a mere opportunity is valuable enough.

Let us give you an insight on how to land an internship that won’t require you to work for free!

Find the right role

As with many things in life, your first hurdle involves standing out from other candidates. When you apply for an internship in the tech field, make sure the role truly aligns with your capabilities and interests. Programming and analyst internships are ideal if you are detail-oriented and logical.

On the other hand, you may find your passion in a social media marketing or SEO role, especially if you have a strong business sense and a creative mind. If you’re unsure what the right role for you is, check out this interactive piece from PokerStars on finding an internship in tech.

Show your inquisitive spirit

Internship coordinators often appreciate when interns showcase natural curiosity. That’s why it’s important to demonstrate you know how to look below the surface on a regular basis. You can get off on the right foot by taking time to learn about companies prior to submitting an application.

That way, if you get called for an interview you won’t have to respond with a stammer and blank stare when the interviewer asks how much you know about the organisation or if you have any questions. Revealing your curiosity can also mean giving an example of how you solved a problem in a creative way, whether the obstacle occurred in school, work or another part of life.

Begin your internship hunt online

Websites such as InternMatch are excellent starting points for securing a paid tech internship. Because companies are so eager to attract the best and brightest tech minds, some of them are paying interns several thousand dollars per month. However, you’ll need to weed through internships that obviously aren’t good fits and focus on the ones that truly suit your strengths. Online databases make it easier to do that very efficiently.

Build a beautiful portfolio

One interesting thing about the world of technology is that the people who excel in it often have to prove themselves through past work before being given opportunities. Luckily, the same isn’t as true for many internships.

For example, if you are aiming for an accounting internship, it’s unlikely you’d wow the intern recruiter by presenting a portfolio full of spreadsheets. In contrast, there are many ways to show you’re adept at tech.

Whether your focus is web design, social media or app development, you must collect your best work. Choose the display method carefully. In some cases, screenshots may be okay, but adding items to a digital portfolio website might make for easier viewing.

Adapt your portfolio content depending on the internship you’re interested in. A portfolio you present during efforts to secure a design internship at PokerStars should look different than one you’d offer if you wanted to be a social media manager at a tech startup. No matter what kinds of specific content you use in the portfolio, make sure it all serves a purpose and offers a clear demonstration of your talent.

Set achievable goals

Finding a tech internship that makes you feel fulfilled and boosts your bank account can seem like an incredibly elusive feat. If you’re not immediately successful, your motivation may even take a serious hit.

Keep productivity levels high by setting manageable goals such as applying for a certain number of internships per week, or deciding you’ll spend at least one hour per day searching for options. When striving towards those goals, take advantage of times of the day when you’re naturally most productive. Concentrate on one thing at a time instead of trying to multitask.

An internship could be one of the first steps down a path that leads to a tech job you love. One that pays is definitely within your reach, especially if you follow the tips above and stay dedicated to your goal.

Sarah Landrum

Sarah Landrum recently graduated from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR. Now, she's a freelance writer and career blogger sharing advice on navigating the work world and achieving happiness and success in your career. You can find her tweeting on her coffee breaks @SarahLandrum

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