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Internships and Apprenticeships

Internships and apprenticeships can serve as a launch-pad for students or beginning-career-level artists looking to enter or re-enter a specific field. Paid or unpaid, these experience and networking opportunities can boost you to the next level of your career. Internships are generally for high school- to graduate-level students who work for a pre-defined period of time to gain field experience. In exchange, some internships provide course credit hours for the work performed. Internships may also involve a dedicated project or specific time frame. Apprenticeships are more training-intensive and involve being mentored by a master artist or craftsmen allowing entry-level artists the opportunity to gain a complete set of skills in one area.

Goals

Valerie Mayén teaching intern

Before you try to connect with mentors or search for internships, define your goals. These goals can be as specific as practicing verbal communication skills or learning a certain type of writing technique, or they may be as broad as learning more about the music industry.  Be careful about drifting too

 far from your original intentions as you search and apply for jobs. Searching out internships can be overwhelming. If you do your best to stick to the goals you have outlined, ultimately you will have a more rewarding experience.

Responsibilities

As you search through available internships and apprenticeships, start by looking at the level of experience required and the description of responsibilities outlined in each opportunity. Many internship websites allow you to use keyword searches to match up the type of position you are looking for with what is currently available.  It may help to have your list of goals and key words in a document on your desktop to quickly copy and paste those terms into the search bar.

Connecting with an Organization or Mentor

Once you’ve found a few internships or an apprenticeship that match your goals and skill set, take a deep dive to acquire more detailed information about the organizations or mentor artists:

  1. Browse through their websites. These sites can provide you with information about their mission, who they serve and their organizational culture. It’s certainly a great place to get started. 
  2. Find out if you know anyone who may work for or with the organization or mentor artist and have a conversation with that person. They can give you some great behind-the-scenes stories or insight into day-to-day activity. They may even be an advocate for you during the hiring process.
  3. Call them up! Once you’ve done your research, come up with a few questions that you want to ask about the internship or apprenticeship. For larger organizations or businesses, try to find contact information for the Human Resources hiring manager or the supervisor named in the listing. Making personal contact is a great way to make an impression and to learn more about what an organization or mentor artist may be looking for in a potential intern or apprentice.

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