There are a lot of internship opportunities out there in medicine, and even more in science, but it's going to take some hustle for you to get one. Finding opportunities isn't that hard, although it may take time. Just think about everyplace you might ever want to work and start getting their phone numbers and email contact addresses. Health clinics. Doctor's offices. Hospitals (usually huge and have lots of departments so you'll want to get a listing and call each one because they may make internship decisions independently). Medical schools at Universities in your area. In science, I'd start with Universities with research labs in your area. Then I'd contact local companies in the pharmaceutical, biotech, or chemicals areas. Check internships.com, internmatch, and even the job posting boards like indeed.com to find out which companies are in your area. The biggest problem you're going to face is time. You've got classes to attend to, and then homework to handle. You can't spend hours every day for months to find an internship. You need something good, and you need to find it soon. So I would suggest you use two tools to make the most of your time: the phone and your email inbox.
First, the phone.
This one is the best because it's a LOT faster to call someone than it is to email them or send them a letter. You just need a phone number and you could have the answer to your questions in just 3 or 4 minutes. Here's how it works...
Receptionist: "Hi, thank you for calling [company name]. This is [person's name] how may I help you?"
You: "Hi there [person's name]. My name is [whatever] and I'm a high school student at [XYZ school]. I'm very excited about [ex: "medicine"] and I'm wondering who would be the best person to speak with about getting an internship with your company."
Receptionist: "Okay that would be [some person's name]. Let me transfer you."
Decision maker: "Hello this is [name]. How can I help you?"
You: "Hi there [name]. My name is [name] and I'm a high school student at [XYZ school]. I'm very excited about [ex: medicine] and I would like to know what it would take for me to get an internship working with you this summer."
Does it sound a little bit like you're selling? Good, because you ARE! Did you think there are all these companies out there struggling to find you? Not likely. It's much more likely that you're going to hustle up an opportunity this way. Now I'd print out a script, or have it open on your computer to actually READ from. Really read from it. But say it with a smile on your face (we can hear smiles on the phone, and it makes you sound happier, which is good). When someone gives you an in, say to them "What would you recommend I do to take advantage of this opportunity? Can we confirm this now, or do you need additional materials from me? Can I please have your contact information to follow up later?"
Email can be a good way to reach people who don't provide a phone number. It goes like this: "Dear X, My name is Y and I'm a student at Z school. I'm very interested in getting an internship at A this summer. I'm excited, reliable, and trustworthy and I'm looking to learn as much as I can. I think I would be a great addition to your team this summer, and I would appreciate the opportunity to join you. Please let me know how I could join you as an intern. Thanks, Y." Here's the key: try to keep it short and sweet, because you frankly don't have time to write long letters. If you have a resume, attach that to the email, but don't fret if you don't have one yet.
Now don't forget:
When you actually get a callback, you're almost always going to need to interview in order to secure the internship. When I'm interviewing interns, I'm always looking for people who appear genuinely excited, sound reliable, and are eager to learn. I pay attention to how quickly they get back to me after I contact them. I notice whether or not they deliver what they said they would deliver on time or early. These are early indications of whether I'm going to spend the summer watching them get things done or chasing them down to complete what they said they would do. I also expect a certain amount of professionalism: that they will smile when they meet me, dress appropriately for a professional setting (no sneakers or t-shirts, but a backpack is fine), and shake my hand. I expect good grammar in emails. I expect students to be able to express enthusiasm for things they've done (otherwise why would you do it?). Most importantly, and I hope you take this the right way, I typically don't expect interns to provide much value, so the only thing you have to trade on is your enthusiasm and positivity. Unless you have some sort of valuable technical skill, I'm basically doing you a charity. But it's a charity I'm excited to offer if you're a cool person to have around in the office! Interns boost morale!
Lastly, you should expect to receive a LOT of rejection. There's no easy way to do this, but that shouldn't stop you. The reward is too great! How you handle rejection is important. I'd suggest you ALWAYS be prepared to turn rejection into opportunity. For example, if you get a rejection by phone or email, even if it's on your first call with someone telling you they don't have an internship program, always be ready with your reply. Do you have any part-time work programs or job shadowing opportunities? What can I do to be at the top of your list of people to call for next year's internship programs? I would really like to learn what you do for a living, so could I just come by for one week to be a fly on the wall and watch what you do? Up to you how you decide to follow up, but handle it with enthusiasm and professionalism. Hustle.</body></html>