I know that the calendar just switched to fall, but it’s also internship search season! I know, the idea of searching for a summer internship when we haven’t even seen the first snowflake seems premature. However, I assure you that the time is now to get moving on your summer internship search.
Generally speaking, only the most competitive internships have deadlines in September – December. If you are chasing after a gig at certain Fortune 500 companies, working on Wall Street, consulting for McKinsey or have spy dreams of working for the Central Intelligence Agency, you need to get moving now for those super competitive opportunities.
Actually, you might be too late for the CIA since you have to apply 12 months in advance (they do have other positions with later deadlines though). The FBI’s internship program is already closed until next summer too and the National Basketball Association internship program closes on October 3rd.
The world won’t end if you wait until January to start your internship search. Starting now does open up a whole world of additional opportunities.
Fall is for Recruitment
As a recruiter, the fall is when I used to rack up a ton of travel miles heading from college to college across the country. I attended college fairs, presented to student groups and occasionally met with department chairs.
When I was a student, I landed a few internships and a full-time job offer as a result of attending my college’s career fair. They can be valuable for the purposes of 1) getting to meet an actual person that works for the company 2) making a good impression that can lead to an interview and 3) learning about new companies and opportuinites that you haven’t thought about before.
On the other side, I was looking to meet students that would be a good fit for my program. I loved introducing the program to students who didn’t know about it. I was impressed by the young people who’d already done their research and came prepared with questions.
If your university will be hosting a Career or Graduate School fair, make it your business to be there. And, be dressed to impress. I have five steps for success at a career fair that serve as good starting point for you. I can tell you after nearly 20 years of recruitment, a smile and firm handshake can go a long way.
Diversity Internship Programs
Plenty of other types of internship opportunities will come along later this year and early spring. Many of the highest paying internship programs are already accepting applicants.
Wonderful opportunities come to those who choose to participate in diversity internship programs. Programs like the T. Howard Foundation, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity and INROADS are constantly working to introduce and advance minority representation in the worlds of business, media, sports, engineering, investment banking, finance, law and other spaces.
The applications for these PAID internship programs generally due early. The first deadline for the T. howard Foundation is October 1st and the final deadline December 1st. T. Howard Foundation places students in internships with companies like HBO, ESPN, CBS Corporation, Facebook, Viacom, Univision and so many others. Check out my list for detailed informtaion on over
In addition to helping you land an internship with a major company, these organizations provide a support network that can open doors for you for years to come, scholarships and job connections.
Many companies may not participate with diversity organizations, but they often have their own internships targeted at increasing diversity. Check out my ongoing list of companies looking to recruit diverse interns.
What You Need to Do Next
The first thing you need to do is get your resume in order. Start with your career services office on campus. Your resume is only one piece of the puzzle but very important. Getting your resume in order forces you to think about the experiences you’ve had, skills you possess as well as skills that you lack, but it should also make you think about the types of experiences you want to gain.
With your complete resume, it will be easy to move foward and create a LinkedIn profile. After you get your resume together, you need to get organized. My free Internship Manual Toolkit can keep you on task and focused on your next move. As a bonus, the Toolkit includes a free resume template.
Take the internship search process seriously and learn to be an expert. If you can become effective at a great internship search, you will be a pro at executing an effective job search.