Creating Your Own Internship: A Guide for Students

Finding internships this summer

Are you tired of endlessly scrolling through job boards for internships that just don’t seem to align with your interests? Or maybe you’re struggling to find opportunities to gain experience in your field of study. Well, there’s always a third option for motivated students: creating your own internship. If you can demonstrate your willingness to do the work necessary, many organizations and companies will be willing to work with a student that takes the initiative to reach out and work with them to create the opportunity. Read on for some of our best tips on making your internship dreams a reality.

Step 1: Understanding the Benefits of Creating Your Own Internship

Many interns often find internship opportunities by reaching out to potential organizations or companies and inquiring about available positions. This allows you to explore your interests and passions, allows you to gain hands-on experience, and can be a huge confidence booster.

Additionally, creating your internship shows the same initiative and resourcefulness but to another degree. Employers want to bring in interns that can think outside the box and aren’t afraid to take risks.

Step 2: Identifying Your Interests and Goals

Before you start calling different employers it’s important to identify your interests and goals. Ask yourself questions about your career goals, your strengths & weaknesses, the work you enjoy, and what skills you wish to develop. These questions will help realistically ground the type of position you’re looking to create.

After identifying interests and goals, you can start researching potential internship opportunities. Look for companies or organizations that align with your interests and values and start writing questions to ask them about company culture, how they measure goals, and what they look for in employees. Additionally, consider reaching out to professionals in your desired field for advice and guidance.

Step 3: Creating a Proposal

Your proposal should outline the details of your internship, including the duration, responsibilities, and learning objectives. Be sure to highlight how your internship will benefit the organization and how you can contribute to their goals.

Always use an active voice and avoid vague language in your proposal. Be sure to proofread it for spelling and grammar errors (this is where English teachers/professors can be a huge help! You know, more than they already are).

Step 4: Pitching Your Internship Proposal

After you’ve created your proposal, it’s time to pitch it to the company or organization. This can be done through email, phone, or in-person meetings. Be sure to tailor your pitch to the specific company or organization and highlight how your internship can benefit them. Research their brand values and language and incorporate those elements into your proposal.

Furthermore, make sure you’re confident and enthusiastic when pitching your proposal. Show the company or organization that you are passionate about your internship and that you are willing to work hard to make it a success.

Step 5: Negotiating Details & Designing the Experience

If the company or organization is interested in your proposal, it’s time to negotiate the details. This includes the duration of the internship, the responsibilities, and any compensation or benefits. Be sure to be clear about your expectations and needs, but also be open to compromise.

Remember that this is a business negotiation and not a personal one. Be sure to get all agreements in writing for clarity and accountability.

After negotiations, you’ll start building out the internship itself with the organization. This includes setting goals and objectives, outlining your responsibilities, and determining how you will measure your success.

When designing your internship experience, it’s important to be realistic and practical. Set goals that are challenging but achievable, and be sure to break them down into smaller, manageable tasks. Be sure to communicate with your supervisor regularly to ensure that you are on track and meeting expectations.

Step 6: Making the Most of Your Internship

During your internship ensure you’re actively networking with professionals in your field, asking for feedback, and taking on additional responsibilities when possible (within the description of your role. Don’t allow people to pile on miscellaneous busy work).

Show your supervisor and colleagues that you are eager to learn and contribute. Take advantage of any training or professional development opportunities that are available to you.

Step 7: Reflecting on Your Experience

It always seems like maintaining a journal is easier said than done but trust us, this is a huge help down the road. It’s important to reflect on your experience. This includes evaluating your performance, reflecting on your achievements and challenges, and identifying areas for growth and improvement.

Also, make sure you take the time to consider your emotional reactions to the work and tasks being asked of you. This is your chance to gain insights on a potential career route, be sure to consider the long-term professional and emotional implications of the positions available.

Step 8: Using Your Experience to Advance Your Career

Finally, it’s important to use your internship experience to advance your career. This includes updating your resume and LinkedIn profile, leveraging your network, and applying for future opportunities. Don’t be afraid to ask coworkers or leadership for reviews, references, or letters of recommendation.

The Wrap-Up

Creating your internship can be a rewarding and valuable experience for students. By taking control of your career and designing your internship, you can gain valuable skills and experience, set yourself apart from other candidates, and ultimately achieve your career goals. 

Interested in more tips? Make sure to follow the Numerade blog for information and resources!


  • Rob Shield

    Rob Shield is based out of Columbus, Ohio. As Numerade's copywriter, Rob uses their extensive background in education to inform and shape the topics and content posted to the blog for educators, parents, and students alike.