Step 5: Finding a Counseling Graduate School Internship Site

17 Aug

Well it’s been a while since I wrote…again:)  I had planned to post a lot between semesters, but wound up using the break to search for an internship site.  If you are in Mental Health Counseling (or seeking an LPC)  part of the graduate requirement (per-graduation) is a practicum/internship (the hours required vary from state-to-state).  I’ve found a site, all I need to do now is get approval from my university **fingers crossed!** The process of “finding” a site went smoothly, in part because I prepared early and

Tips to finding an Internship Site (Graduate School):

  1. Create a resume or update yours when (a) you first start school, and (b) once more 9 months before job hunting
  2. Use University career centers and/or a professor in YOUR field of study to review your resume and edit it! (Every profession has things it looks for, keywords/etc, in resumes.  Catering your resume to your field is essential.)
  3. (Note: Counseling/Psychology fields like “Bulleted” items in their works.) For a sample resume please see mine HERE.
  4. After you have a polished resume make sure you review/update it before searching for a site.
  5. Begin searching for a site no less than 6 months prior to the scheduled date of internship – this will give you ample time to complete paperwork for your university and/or have a site rejected by said university (giving you time to freak out and find another if need be).
  6. If every place you go to seems not to want you, get a teacher or friend to “interview” you informally (try to find someone in the field you’re going into) and critique your interview-ability.  Something you are saying (or not saying) may be putting potential sites off you!
  7. DON’T forget to mention that (A) the internship is UNPAID for graduate school and (B) you will have your own INSURANCE via a professional organization.  There are “paid” internships/career openings that you may not qualify for; however, if you are working for “free” the company may employ you anyways to save money and receive help that budgetary limitations would otherwise not allow for…
  8. You have a site but it’s still 6 months away?  Follow up!  At least once a month check in with your potential supervisor.  Keep up with the paperwork that must be done.  Ask about additional training sessions you may need, if you have to foot the bill for these sessions, and ask about background/medical/other checks may be needed in order to work at your chosen site.
  9. A little work NOW can mean BIG results later.  It will also keep you from needing to be committed due to last minute rushing/panic attacks.

Are you a procrastinator??? Well guess what me too!  What you don’t believe me??? Here’s a trick I do to FORCE myself to keep ahead of the game:

On my calendar (physical or the one on my cell phone) I set the most annoying reminder with an alarm for whatever I am trying to accomplish.  For instance, tomorrow I need to call and follow up with a potential internship site and have been procrastinating because of the false sense of security gained from finding one so quickly.  I have the most annoying alarm/sound set to go off every 3 hours tomorrow until I call.  Once I call, I’ll delete the alarm(s).  Additionally, it’s important to FORCE yourself to do something to prep for future school requirements (like an internship or a portfolio) at least once to twice a month.  The act of accomplishing something also decreases anxiety/stress by increasing feelings of accomplishment.  There are times that even doing a bit here and there is not enough to keep away the mad rush at the last minute.  On the other hand, even when the mad rush is unavoidable, previous feelings of accomplishment and work can make the act of coping with the stress more manageable.

GOOD LUCK:):):)

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