Get an Internship

An internship can be a great start to a career, and in some cases, it can start while you’re still in high school (especially during the summer months). Internships are different from volunteer work because they are less “help us out” and more “let us teach you job skills.”

As with any job search, start by making your plans known. Tell your parents, teachers, coaches, and friends’ parents that you are on the lookout. Post about it (and ask your parents to post about it) on social media. Essentially, start networking. So many employment opportunities get to us through personal connections.

Next step? Meet with your high school guidance counselor. Especially if you live in a metro area, the counseling office might already have possibilities lined up or alumni contacts that can prove fruitful. But even if they don’t, they’ll be able to help with job search etiquette and techniques.

You can definitely do some research on your own, but you’ll be much more successful if you go straight to local businesses. Create a resume and craft your elevator pitch (a 30-second description of your internship goals and applicable interests/skills), then start reaching out to relevant businesses in your area.

Don’t ignore nonprofit organizations, especially the big ones. NASA has a long history of welcoming interns — and they have a major campus in northeast Florida. The American Cancer Society offers internships. And national parks are a great bet, along with zoos, hospitals, and museums.

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