Most of you who are reading are indeed looking for ways to find your internship in France. First of all, good luck in your searches. Hope you get what you are looking for.
Keep in mind that securing an internship is hard and not finding one. You just have to know what, how and where to look for one.
Application Process - Pre-Application:
This is an important phase where you set your professional goals and the kind of roles that you would be looking to apply to. Research the kind of companies that offer the roles you are looking for.
Once you know what you would want to do, it is better to tailor your resumé based on the job you are going to apply. It could maybe change from company to company. Hence, it is better to always look for the job description and then tailor your resumé for that company. It is important that you do the same for the cover letter as well. As far as my knowledge, every company demands a cover letter to be attached along with your resumé except when you attend forums.
Remember that your resume and cover letter describe who you are and what you do. Hence, be careful of the things you add and things you do not add. Do not lie in both of these as they describe who you are from a professional standpoint.
Talking about forums, keep a lookout for any Forums or Job Fairs happening in the area you live in. Most of them, according to my experience are free to attend. Attend them even if you are in your first year to get a feel of how things are in your field of interest. This could give you, your first interaction with a company official and a wonderful opportunity to network.
If you are looking to apply online, then it is important to network using LinkedIn. In another section below, an in-depth analysis is given as to why this is important.
An important point to keep in mind is Timing. In france, majority of the internship start in the months of June/July typically before the summer break or in January/February Period. Of course, this is not valid for all the internships but for majority of the cases. Applying in this cycle could increase your chances.
Also, you need to make a choice on the language of communication. Many companies if not most of them ask that you speak good, fluent French. One suggestion is that you look for startups that are looking to expand globally and are for sure in need of people who speak english. Could help. But a word of advice, please put the effort to learn the language. You could open up a lot more opportunities.
Once you have your resumé set up, your professional goals set, your connections made, it is time to start applying.
Make it clear about the duration of your internship and the language you are looking to speak during the duration of the internship.
Applications are sent through multiple forms. Like Job Forums, through Companies website, online job portals, LinkedIn. Lets go through this one by one.
Typically in a forum, you have a multitude of companies and hence you need to carry a lot of resume on hand. There will of course be a list of companies or a book that describes every company. If you have done your research properly, you would know what are the companies you want to target and you would go to those and apply, else if you didn't have the list already, then take your time to pick out a few important ones and see them before you lose your energy.
Once you are at the counters, remember that they are your first official point of contact at the companies. Ultimately it is going to be the people at the counters who make a conscious choice of whether you get a call back or not. Hence it is imperative that you spend time with the people there, be friendly, try to speak in french or if you speak french, continue speaking french and get to know more about the company, the internship proposed, the pro and con of the internship and also if there is any relocation and travel needed.
Do not forget to hand them a copy of your resumé and explain with some amount of enthusiasm what you have done before and what you are looking to do. Tell them your preferences and also what you are very good in.
Online Job Portals and Company Career Sites:
Here you are directly applying to the company based on the job postings online.
You would ideally need to have your cover letters here. Tailor them based on the job description that have been described.
Here is a link to a post that has a lot of online sites where you can search for an internship: Facebook link
Remember that this method could be less effective than the forums or LinkedIn in getting you the interview calls.
Have a complete profile and invest time in carefully adding everything you have done in your life both academically and professional and sometimes personally incase of volunteering.
Connections are very important. Connect with HR professionals and HR recruiters. They are the ones who are authorised to scout out for talents in any company.
LinkedIn has a feature called “LinkedIn Jobs”. Use that to the best effect. Look for jobs in the industry you are looking for and maybe message the recruiter before applying for an internship.
You could maybe sign up for LinkedIn Premium to give you an edge on the post you are applying. For more information regarding this, try logging into your LinkedIn page. One suggestion is that, if you plan your activites very well, you could use the LinkedIn premium for a month, for free as a trial and understand your competition and the post you are applying for so that you can tailor your resume even further.
Remember that interviewing for 10 companies through contacts and connections is far better than applying to a 1000 companies and not getting any response. Think smart and apply smart.
In the whole process, sometimes you might be offered something that you weren't looking for. If you like it, look interested, else politely decline and continue your search.
If you have done the above steps meticioulsy and with all the discipline, you are highly likely to be invited for an interview. It is important that you focus on being the best of who you are and not worry about the competition that you could possible have. Compete with yourself to be the best version you can be and not about beating the competition.
Make sure that you are well prepared and know what you have done like the back of your hand.
Just because you have had an interview, do not stop applying.
Apply till you have an official email that says that you are being hired and that the company is waiting for your answer on the offer they made you.
Patience is key. Be patient and do not bombard your point of contact with a lot of emails. Could make you look desperate.
Having said all of this, do not stress too much and enjoy the search. You will have a lot of stories to tell about your search once you have your internship. Good Luck. :D