If you are following my blog for a while, you probably know that I am currently enrolled in university and studying hospitality. This field is based on practical experience as much as it is on theoretical knowledge. Therefore, most schools require you to complete an internship, which they may find for you or you have to find it for yourself. Here are some of my tips and tricks on how to find these.
Through your school
If you are required to complete an internship, your school probably has some facilities set up to help you. This could be a career fair once a semester, an internship department, or a website where they publish all the opportunities. Make sure you take full advantage of these and exhaust them. Even if you don’t get a job you like, they might have the contact of a company you are interested in.
Linkedin is one of the most popular jobsearch websites these days. Many companies publish their internship opportunities on there or mention them and then redirect to their site. It is a great way to get an overview of what is out there and what you might be interested in. If you don’t find what you are looking for, it is also a great way to get in contact with the HR of the company professionally. It will also tell you if you already know someone who is working at the company you are interested in, and whom you could use as an in. Linkedin is one of the most useful tools these days for professional networking, so make sure you use it effectively.
HOSCO is a hospitality specific site for internships, management training, and entry positions. They do not have as many offers as some of the other platforms, but they are growing. I found it one of the easiest to use and the overview they provide is excellent. Also, many jobs let you apply directly through HOSCO, which makes the application process so much easier. I like the website for finding opportunities not posted anywhere else. It also helped me find my previous internship in Abu Dhabi.
Friends and family
This, of course, depends on your circle, but if you have a friend who did an internship that interests you, ask them for the contact of the HR person and get in touch. Taking the initiative and writing them can be a great indication to the hotel that you want to work for them and are genuinely dedicated to this job. It also helps if your friend made a good impression, so they immediately have positive memories. For example, one of my friends is currently working at the company where I will be doing my next internship. She works hard, so when I mentioned that we were friends, the interviewer already pictures that I will work like she does, which helped my chances.
Make sure everything is up to date
When you start applying for internships, make sure all your paperwork is up to date. Your CV should be complete with all the recent information, including your current school, etc. If someone asks, you should be able to send them transcripts, recommendation letters, references, and your cover letter. Now you may not need any of this, but it is always good to have.
The first time I had to apply for an internship, I was super careful. I read the description five times to make sure I qualified, wrote cover letters for every position, and so much more. I’m not condemning this of course. On the other hand, if something interests you, just apply. You may get it, you may not, but at least you tried. Of course, if you love one specific offer, put in the effort and make it the best application you can. Also, never think that something is out of your reach. If you are interested, apply, and you might get lucky.
Don’t limit yourself
When you are figuring out where to go for your internship, do not limit yourself. Think of a place you always wanted to live and look if there are any internships there. In the end, you are only there for six months, and you can survive anything for that long. Plus you never know, it might turn out amazing. I did my first internship on board a cruise ship. When I decided to do that, everybody tried to talk me out of it and said I was crazy. In the end, I loved it so much I didn’t want to disembark at the end of my contract. You can read all about that experience here.
Don’t freak out about interviews
The interview is for both of you to meet and see if this partnership would work. Do your research, know a little about the company, and answer all their questions to the best of your knowledge. There is no reason to freak out though. You are nervous, but try to be as natural as possible. Just talk to them as usual, try to be honest, and show your enthusiasm for the position. Furthermore, make sure you have questions to ask them. You don’t need many, but you need some. Here are some of the ones I like to ask:
Will the company help with accommodation/transport/visa? (if applicable)
What is a typical day like at the company, in your position?
What do you (the interviewer) like best about working for this company?
These questions give you a good view into the day to day activities of the company, and what the company will do for its employees. There are of course many more, but these are some I like.
Take the job you cannot stop thinking about
If you are going back and forth about two different positions, take the one that you keep thinking about. This is the one you will always justify in front of anyone, and not be able to decline. For me, this was the position on the cruise. I had another offer at the time, and I kept telling myself why the cruise position was just as good and how they would also offer you many things compared to the other company. In the end, listening to my feelings was correct and showed me the right choice.
In conclusion, finding an internship is possible, as long as you decide what you want and go after it. Don’t be afraid to do something crazy since it is only six months and it will make for great stories afterward.
Hope this was helpful. If you have any more tips feel free to share them in the comments below or on social media.