Internships are one of the best ways to prepare yourself for your future career. You’ll gain experience in your field and start developing the skills you’ll need to land your first job. Who knows – your internship could even turn into a full-time position.
Here’s how, when and where to start your internship search:
1. Start early
Finding the right internship takes time. You’ll want to spend a few weeks researching opportunities in your field and honing in on the roles that are most relevant to your career goals. You’ll also need time to perfect your resume, write your cover letter and ask for letters of recommendation.
Keep in mind that many companies will start searching for interns well ahead of time. For example, some competitive summer internship programs have a fall or winter application deadline. Make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to land the positions you really want.
2. Go online
LinkedIn is a great resource for finding internship opportunities. You can search for openings based on geographic location, industry, experience level and more. Check your newsfeed regularly and keep an eye out for new opportunities. Your connections might have internship programs at their companies. Also check out online job sites such as indeed.com, which can give you targeted alerts about positions that might be available in your area of interest and location.
3. Take advantage of local career events
Use career fairs as an opportunity to get face time with local employers. However, don’t go with the expectation that you’ll land an internship after just one conversation. Even if a company isn’t hiring interns right now, that doesn’t mean they won’t need them in the future. If you make a good impression and start building a relationship with a recruiter or hiring manager, you might be their first call when the right opportunity comes along.
4. Network with professionals in your field
Don’t underestimate the value of personal relationships in your search. A referral from someone you know could be the key to landing the perfect internship. Additionally, being involved in student organizations and attending networking events can help you build a stronger professional network and learn about new opportunities you might not have come across online.
Talking with professionals in your field, such as your professors or advisors, can also be an important part of your research. You’ll get a better sense of what it’s like to work in your desired field and can start thinking about which roles or career path you want to pursue.
5. Talk to career services at your university
Career services can help you with every step of the internship process – from researching companies to fine-tuning your resume. They also likely have relationships with local employers or alumni, and might know of current or future internship openings that aren’t publicly posted.
Don’t wait until the last minute to see your career advisor. They’re your number one resource for finding an internship that will set you up for the career you want!