It’s internship season! If you’re in college you should be looking for an internship right now. As a freshman, sophomore, junior, senior and even graduate student you should be in the thick of the hunt. If you haven’t started looking and applying you need to get moving quickly – like now!
The application deadlines for some of the more coveted internship openings passed back in November and December. Before you panic, remember that there are plenty of other opportunities out there for you to pursue if you are creative and remain open.
According to a recent survey by Glassdoor.com the number one destination for internships this summer will be Facebook followed by Chevron, Google, Quicken Loans and Ebay.
As the former senior manager of an internship program that placed students with major media companies across the country, I know very well the desire of many students to land their dream gig with their dream company. I had the privilege of being a part of that dream come true for hundreds of students. Big well-known company internships often come with not just a structured internship experience but also access to major corporate events, a team of other interns to collaborate with, access to the latest and greatest technology and are often in exciting cities like New York, LA, Atlanta, DC and Silicon Valley.
Interns at companies like Google, Yahoo, NBCUniversal, Viacom, Facebook and so many other places find themselves tackling innovative and creative projects and being a part of a team contributing to products and programming used and accessed by millions around the world. If you can land one, go for it!
I do want to remind you, however, that size alone doesn’t dictate the quality and opportunity to have a meaningful and amazing internship experience. When I was in college, I completed eight internships, some with big companies and some with small. No matter where the internship opportunity is, you have the ability to learn, observe, ask questions, and contribute to a company or organization. If you embrace the opportunity you can come away with what you realize later was your dream internship.
There are thousands of smaller companies across this country with 5-500 employees who gladly welcome interns into their operations throughout the year. The majority of American workers actually work for companies with 500 or fewer employees. Smaller companies and non-profit organizations can often be a great resume boost and opportunity for someone trying to get that first internship. More competitive internships often require previous internship experience, have strict GPA minimums or are reserved for upperclassmen.
My most influential internship experience came as the result of a referral from one of my professors. While my college (SUNY Oswego) itself is not a small company, I interned for two years in my University public affairs office, which employed only three staff members. I learned so much in that time about public affairs, writing, managing a publication and interviewing that eventually I pursued a master’s degree in Professional Writing and started my career in higher education.
While you are in the middle of your internship search I implore you to not forget about the little guy. Find a small local business, or non-profit, do your research and add them to you list.
The new salon that just open down the block from you might need a social media guru, a non-profit might need some marketing assistance to develop a campaign to recruit more volunteers or the local struggling restaurant might need help understanding profit and loss and your accounting skills could be very much in need. Get creative and don’t overlook opportunities where you are.
If you are serious about finding an internship then invest in yourself and get my book, The Internship Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting the Internship of Your Dreams and keep going until you lock down an internship!