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Internship Advice for Women in Canada

Young woman in a labl coat and safety glasses standing in front of a work bench.

Are you thinking about an internship? We’ve got internship advice for women in Canada who are looking for that ideal placement to network and build skills. What is an internship? These short-term placements are professional work experiences that can be directly related to a student’s career interest. An intern might be paid or might get academic credit instead.

Preparing for an Internship

Before you look for an internship, you need to make sure that you have a professional presence. This can help give you an edge over other applicants.

  • Get a professional email address – You can still use a free service like Gmail, but get an address that will look good on your resume. Avoid nicknames and numbers.
  • Proofread your resume – Ask someone to review your resume to catch errors and suggest ways you can improve.
  • Update your LinkedIN profile – Make sure your experience is up-to-date and your profile photo is a nice headshot. LinkedIn has even gathered a list of recommendations for you!
  • Locate opportunities – How do you find an internship? Look for official postings for internships on websites like Indeed or TalentEgg, see if your post-secondary program offers connections, use a service like The Intern Group, or call a company that you’ve always wanted to work for and inquire!

You can look for an internship near home, in another city or any province across Canada, or even international!

Internship tips to get you ready!

After you find a placement, you’ll need to prepare for your first day! If this is your first job experience, know that this will be much different from school. Ask someone you trust (especially if they work in a similar field) about his or her typical day and what you should think about.

Want more advice? Our internship guide has a few more tips for new placements:

  • Buy your PPE – If you are entering an environment where personal protective equipment (PPE) is required, you will want to get this ahead of time. This is particularly important for women who may find that company-provided PPE might not fit well. Look for companies like Covergalls who can help you dress safely and comfortably.
  • Be punctual – Being on time is important. If you want to be memorable, show up on time. Employers make notes on future hires, and at the very least, you’ll want to use this placement as a future reference.
  • Set clear expectations/goals – This is usually done from the beginning, but if it hasn’t been covered, request a meeting to set clear expectations and goals so that you both maximize the experience.
  • Know who to report to – Where do you go if you have a problem? You may be assigned to someone that doesn’t actually work in the same location as you so be sure to know where you are supposed to go for help, assistance, or to get new assignments.
  • Be enthusiastic – You may be given mundane tasks but show your patience and reliability by finishing the work and asking for additional tasks. If there isn’t any other work for you to do, ask wat you are allowed to do in your free time; take advantage of downtime to observe others or learn about things related to the job (through reading, podcasts, etc.).
  • Introduce yourself – Depending on the company’s onboarding process, you might not be introduced to everyone. When you meet new people, tell them who you are.
  • Take it all in – Listen to everyone who shares knowledge with you, take notes, ask for job shadowing opportunities.
  • Take notes – Write down what you are learning so that trainers do not have to repeat themselves, and so that you have a written record of things you did during placement (great for resume updates!).
  • Focus on quality – Do you work to the best of your ability. Ask questions so that you know you are on the right track and always double-check your work before submitting.
  • Own your mistakes – If you have done something wrong, don’t try to cover it up. Be the first to bring that mistake forward and focus on how to correct the action for the future. Depending on the work you do, a small mistake can have a snowball effect, so honesty and timeliness are key.
  • Build relationships – Get to know everyone you have contact with and take advantage of social gatherings to help build your network. At the end of your placement, ask these contacts to leave you feedback on your LinkedIN profile.
  • Ask for feedback – This may be part of your regular meetings, but certainly, at the end of your placement you will want to ask for feedback so you can identify areas for improvement.

Make sure the work you do makes the employer feel like you are the best choice to fill a current or future job opening. If the job isn’t for you or there are no jobs available at this time, you’ll still want to do your best so that you can use this contact as a reference for other jobs.

Why should I apply for an internship?

Internships are a great way to learn what really happens in a work environment. You may discover a lot about yourself and your future career choice by identifying your strengths and weaknesses, as well as learning what tasks you love and what things do definitely do not enjoy.

You placement is a great time to work on building or refining skills and allows you to apply your school knowledge to real-world projects. Finally, along with what you will learn while working, your placement cold lead to a full-time job offer!

Take the opportunity to complete an internship to find out if your main career choice is a good fit. You’ll get so much out of the experience.

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