Five Ways to Find an Internship Today!

Five Ways to Find an Internship Today!

Updated December 2020

You want to know how to find an internship. Here are five ways to find an internship today! It’s Always internship season – summer, fall, winter, spring, it doesn’t matter.  Given that things are unpredictable in the season of COVID-19, the good thing as that these tested tips work in or out of a pandemic.
 
These proven strategies helped me find eight internships when I was in college.  Later, as the Senior Manager of a national internship program, these tips helped over 500 students find internships across the country. There are obviously more than five ways to find an internship, but these serve as a starting point for you today.
 
Even in this time of social distancing, you can still pursue many of these methods for finding an internship. Zoom calls,  phone calls and emails are all valid ways of communicating. Colleges that have moved online are still offering virtual career services appointments to help students navigate this challenging time.

 

1) Ask Around

Approach your college professors, department heads and administrators and let them know what type of internships you are looking for. They may have professional contacts that they can connect you with in the industry you are exploring.
 
I landed one of my best internships through one of my communications professors who connected me to the right person. I got an on campus internship using the same tactic of just asking and letting the right people know what type of opportunity I was looking for. Go beyond the college community and ask your friends parents, mentors and other professionals you know too. This is also your first attempt at learning to network! 
The Internship Manual

TAKE ACTION: Make a list of at least 10 people (professors, parents, friend’s parents, mentors etc.) you know that you want to approach in helping you find an internship. Develop a short script explaining what type of opportunity you are looking for and how they can help you. Getting comfortable talking to others and sharing your goals will come in handy later as you start to build your networking skills.

Bonus Tip: It’s time to join LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social network that focuses on professional networking and career development.

 If you need scripts, I include scripts for these and other scenarios in my book, The Internship Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting the Internship of Your Dreams. I also dedicate an entire chapter to the subject of networking because it is that important to your future internship and career success. There are many keys on how to find an internship in the book.

 2) Connect with career services 

Your college career center can be an exceptional resource for finding internships. Career centers have onsite interview days, career fairs, internship postings and a vast array of resources at your disposal. You have access to the all of those tools for free (well, of course you are paying tuition). If you can’t make it to campus, set up a virtual visit with a career advisor.
 
Career fairs offer you the chance to get beyond email and get valuable face time with hiring professionals. Use these opportunities to your advantage, and use your career services center as a part of your internship search team. This fall, career fairs might look a little different as virtual events.
  • Make an Appointment: Schedule a time to sit down with a career counselor/advisor (or virtually) to go over your resume. Discuss your internship goals and create a plan for finding internships each year, and ultimately finding a job. You should work with your counselor to update your plan at the beginning of each semester.
  • Assess Your Skills: Some offices offer the opportunity for students to take skills assessment tests. If you are still trying to figure out your major and need some career direction, sign up to take a skills assessment and learn what careers you might be best suited for.

3) Don’t Ignore Small Businesses and Non-Profits

Meaningful and amazing internship experiences don’t have to come from companies with 5,000+ employees.  In a previous post, Not Everyone Can Intern at Google, I wrote about why you should look at small companies for internships. There are so many smaller companies with under 500 employees who gladly welcome interns into their operations. Size alone doesn’t dictate the quality and opportunity of an internship experience.
 
Smaller companies and non-profit organizations, can often be a great resume boost and opportunity for that first internship. More competitive internships often require previous internship experience or are reserved for upperclassmen. The challenge currently, is that many small business are closing are can’t afford to pay interns.
 
TAKE ACTIONFind a small local business or non-profit, do your research and then contact them.  Let them know you are a college student looking to do an internship, that you’ve done some research and are very interested in learning how you can intern with their company. 
 
Download a free copy of my Internship Manual Tracker. This tracker keeps you organized on your internship search. You will find an action sheet to keep track of the companies you are applying to,  a calendar so you know what you should be doing no matter the time of year.
 
 
 

 

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. 

 4) Do online searches

There are many job boards where companies post their available internships. Start with the sites listed belo that focus on internships.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the online search options. As you compile your list of companies that you are interested in interning for, visit their websites as well.

Follow the top companies you are interested in on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instragram, Twitter and any other social media they use. Create a LinkedIn profile today if you don’t’ have one already.

5. Apply to Divesrity Internship Recruitment Programs

Internship recruitment programs often require a competitive application process to gain admission. The process is worth it considering that the majority of these experiences provide paid internships and connect you directly to major companies or government agencies. Once a part of a program you generally have the additional advantage of support before, during and after your internship experience. You become a part of a large network that extends beyond your college network. Subscribe to my Diversity Internship Directory to see a comprehensive listing of diverse internship opportunities. There are others program like the Washington Center Internship program as well.

Get started on finding your dream internship and becoming a superstar intern, right now!


 

Finding Summer 2021 Internships Post COVID-19

Finding Summer 2021 Internships Post COVID-19

Finding summer 2021 internships, even if COVID-19 is still around is something you should start today! Trying to predict, chart or plan anything more than a week in advance seems pointless in 2020, but trust me.

As we see positivity rates go up and down and lock downs are happening on a regular basis, it sucks. On the other side, there are vaccines on the horizon that could change the game this summer. Don’ get caught unprepared if things do turn around!

So, although no one wants to spend summer 2021 on lock down, companies are preparing for remote and/or onsite internships. Since they are looking to hire, you should be looking for an opportunity – now.

The Good News

The good news: companies just went through this last summer. Look, summer 2020 was a dumpster fire and everyone was just trying to survive. Companies scrambled to adapt and convert onsite internships into virtual and remote experiences. Six months later, they’ve been able to step back, evaluate and hopefully improve on their remote internships.

The other good news is that remote internships have opened up more opportunities for you! Gone will be the barriers of housing and travel. Many major brands and companies are located in big cities. Previously, that meant spending your internship pay check on housing and food. Other times, it meant not even applying to an internship because you couldn’t afford it. Right now, major brands and companies like VIACOMCBS  and NBCUniversal are looking for fill valuable paid remote and virtual internships! 

The internship world has opened up in ways like never before, at least for the short-term. For now, let’s take advantage of this season of COVID that has evened the playing field. So, if you don’t have deep pockets or responsibilities keeping you close to home, it’s time to shoot your shot.

person using macbook pro on table
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Summer 2021 Internship Search Process

The summer 2021 internship search process itself hasn’t changed much. Every year, students search for internships and do the whole process over the phone and online. So, the summer 2021 internships search process definitely won’t be changing much this year.

Sites like indeed.com, internships.com, LinkedIn, idealist.org, Handshake and internfromhome.com are still the first stop for many students.  Daily or weekly, search these sites using keywords like virtual, online, remote, or work from home. You will get many more results than in years past. Also, check to see if your college uses Handshake. Using Handshake will make applying to internships quick, and gives you access to virtual recruitment events.

My Diversity Internship Directory is a free comprehensive listing of internship opportunities specifically for Black, Latino and other traditionally underrepresented college students. 

Tools for Your Internship Search

Before you dive head first into things, get the tools for your search ready. Schedule an appointment with your university career services office (probably virtual). Learn about any virtual career fairs, recruitment events, alumni hosted interview days and other resources they provide. Put your tuition dollars to work! Also, career services should be your first stop for getting your resume and cover letter together.

Once you are resume ready, set up your LinkedIn profile and get to work. Don’t forget to create a targeted list of companies and when possible, apply directly to them rather than through job boards. Target companies are teh top companies you plan to research and apply to. Follow those same companies on Twitter, Instagram and other social media outlets. A lot of companies use social media to post about internships, application deadlines and sometimes the offer behind the the scenes internship info.

Network, Network, Network

networking

Networking can really help your internship search. Networking could be the key for you finding an internship or job in the future. It is less intimidating when you understand what networking it is all about. Networking is not about attending an event and collecting all the business cards that you can. Networking is about creating relationships and developing real connections. Start with your existing network that is probably bigger than you think. Your network could include:

  • friends
  • high school teachers
  • professors
  • your parents friends
  • your friends parents
  • church members
  • fraternity or sorority members
  • professional organization members
  • coaches
  • mentors

Let them know how things are going, what you are studying, how have you spent your time in 2020, are you in class or remote learning, your future aspirations and the type of internship you are looking for. Even if they don’t have an internship, they will keep you in mind for an opportunity that they may hear about. It’s like having an army of job seekers on the lookout for you. You can also network via LinkedIn.

Keep an eye out and keep your ears open. 

The Bad News

The bad news is that there just might be fewer summer 2021 internships around. Small businesses are the life blood of the economy. There is an estimate that as many as 60% of small businesses will close their doors this year and not reopen. Certain industries have been decimated like hospitality and travel. As a result, some smaller, great, local internships will no longer be available. For some companies whose doors have remained open, paying additional staff for summer 2021 internships is not on the table.

The result, there will likely be fewer internships available and the competition for those few openings will be tougher. To stand out, you will need to have your stuff together. The other likely situation, after years of making strides on the need for internships to be paid, we might see a resurgence of unpaid internships

Technically Speaking

As you navigate through this process, there are some things that have obviously changed. Remote internships remove the housing and travel barrier, but it also can create barriers for students who fail to demonstrate certain skills. You need at least basic technical skills to work from home.

Remote internships mostly require reliable internet access, assigned times to be online, and can be less interactive and more project based placements. Working from home will still require a quiet place, much like your need for space to study.

New Indsutries, New Opportunities

Think about the new opportunities and the industries that are thriving.  Opportunities in social media, marketing, coding, web design, front end and back end development, information technology, research and the list goes on. We’ve seen companies like Zoom explode as an online meeting platform, online gaming is at a high, online teaching platforms, cloud computing, e-commerce, home entertainment, manufacturing and biotechnology. 

Think outside the box and don’t be afraid to investigate and discover industries and positions you have’t thought of before. If you can’t fit in a technical class next semester, there are plenty of free online classes to learn new skills from places like Coursera. 

A Different Kind of Process

While the initial search and interview process itself may have not changed much, the interview questions and concerns have. You should ask questions about the internship structure, work hours, how often you will participate in meetings and how they will make interns feel included on the team. Will you be working with other interns? How often will you meet with your manager?

Online internships offer the convenience of staying home, but present the challenge of connecting with others. The better internship programs will work hard to ensure that interns can feel as part of the team as possible. 

With the fluid nature of life in the next 6-12 months, it will be important to know if or how things could change. If life is closer to normal this summer, could the internship go from remote to onsite? If you are asked to be onsite, what are the rules for social distancing? Make sure you ask when decisions on the in-person vs remote internships will be made. These are not questions anyone would have asked a year ago, but they are part of our reality for the moment. 

If you get an internship, make sure you stay in contact with human resources and your immediate manager for any news. 

Finding summer 2021 internships doesn’t have to be daunting or difficult. If you start searching now, get your resume in order, practice interviewing and do your research, you will have better results. Stay focused and take action!

Download my Internship Tracker with a free resume template to stay organized and maximize every moment of this process!

The Best Summer Internships are Found in the Winter

The Best Summer Internships are Found in the Winter




Another semester has come and gone and you’ve survived. Whether you are a senior coming up on your last hoorah or a freshman still getting the hang of things, your winter break is a much needed, much welcomed, few moments of rest. Don’t sleep too much and miss out on your chance to get a jump on your summer 2018 plans.

The best summer internships are found in the fall/winter. Many Fortune 500 companies recruit on campus and online from September – December. If you are looking for a paid internship, you need to get on the ball as soon as possible.

Even though some companies have already filled their 2018 summer slots, there are many other worthwhile, awesome and valuable internships opportunities still up for grabs, I just want you to understand that you need to get moving on this process. Start with my free Internship Manual Toolkit that will help you stay on track during the search process. Even if you aren’t looking to intern for a big name company across the country, starting your internship search now and getting ahead can help you stay on top of it when things get busy again.

Why an Internship is Necessary

[x_pullquote cite=”S. Kent” type=”left”]Launching your career after college isn’t just about your major, GPA and extracurriculars…[/x_pullquote]

 

Companies now expect to see real internship experience on your resume before you graduate. Many employer’s are expecting to see multiple internships. Getting a job after college isn’t just about your major, GPA and extracurriculars, it is also about showing a company that you bring value, can learn fast and have been tested in the workforce. Internships give you that.

The internship experience isn’t just about the company, it is also about you. I did eight internships while in college. Each experience was different and valuable in it’s own way. Internships allow you to test out the waters into different careers you may not have thought of, learn new things and see how your classroom experiences translate to the real world. In addition, on average, interns make about $15,000 more per year when starting out after college.

Your internship search doesn’t have to become stressful or overwhelming. Check out these 5 quick ways to find an internship that have all been proven to work.

  1. Ask Around
  2. Get help from career services
  3. Search in unconventional places
  4. Online research
  5. Apply to internship programs

Read the article for full details and actions to take for each of these 5 ways to find an internship.

Don’t waste your winter break. Get some rest, see family, see your friends but stay ahead of everyone else and get moving on finding an internship. Pick up a copy of, The Internship Manual a Step-by-Step Guide to Finding the Internship of Your Dreams and learn everything you need to know to succeed in this process.

I Didn’t Know I’d Need Experience to Get an Internship

I Didn’t Know I’d Need Experience to Get an Internship




If you are looking for your first internship and you don’t have any experience, you might be banging your head on the desk in frustration. You knew you needed an internship to get experience to get a job, but no one told you that you would need experience to get an internship! Makes your head hurt right, the idea that you have to work your way up to being an intern.

I’m going to explain five ways to get experience to land your first or next internship. You don’t have to do all five, pick what works best for you. Once you start building on experience, ramp up your internship search with some of these ideas on where to look.

1. Start on campus

Get involved. If you are already a part of a student organization, it is time to step up that involvement so that you can build some skills. Find a group that you are really interested in, or start one if it doesn’t exist. By serving on the executive board of a student group, fraternity, sorority or professional group (ex: Public Relations Student Society of America), you have a chance to learn a variety of skills from marketing, to social media, accounting to graphic design.

If you started a group on campus with three people and by the end of the semester membership grew to 75, you’d have a great example of a real marketing strategy that worked. You don’t have to be the president, treasurer etc. to get experience, you can join committees and be an active and involved member and still contribute to projects that will look great on your resume. It looks better on your resume if you are intimately involved in a few organizations, rather than being a part of 10 groups that you don’t contribute to.

2. Volunteer

There are always non-profit organizations that need volunteers. Even just 10 hours per week will benefit you personally and professionally from contributing to a cause. Non-profits Volunteer Groupneed assistance with accounting, recruiting volunteers, tutoring young people, database management, website development, doing research on policies that impact those they serve and so many other things.

Find a non-profit that motivates you so that volunteering isn’t just about getting experience.  Start with your student activities office or office of community service if your school has one, and you could be volunteering in a few days.

 

3. Look for internships that don’t require experience

In a perfect world you want the highest paid internship at the coolest company you can find. Reality is, if you are just starting out and looking to get some skills, it could mean low pay or even no pay and that is okay. Your internship is about preparing you for entry into the full-time paid professional work force. Your degree is good, but ultimately having experience could be the reason you get hired and someone else doesn’t.

Not everyone can intern at Google so I advise students with no experience to check out smaller companies, non-profits or even on campus internships first. They tend to be less competitive and can provide robust learning experiences. Don’t overlook these lesser known internships because they could be just what you need and what you didn’t even know you wanted.

4. Get a part-time job

Between junior year in high school and my senior year of college I had six different part-time jobs and eight internships. I am convinced that having work experience helped me land a few of my earlier internships. Having a job demonstrated responsibility, the fact that someone paid me for services, customer service skills, teamwork and flexibility.

If you have a part-time job or get one soon, don’t be the average employee. Look for opportunities to improve on the job you do and help the company at the same time. For example, if you work at local store (my first job was at a family owned hardware store) that doesn’t have a Facebook or Twitter account, take the initiative (with permission) to create a social media strategy that helps increase business. Create experiences, don’t just wait for them.

5. Create Opportunity

If you love writing, start your own blog and write. If you love building websites, start building them and learning different platforms. If you love landscaping, start cutting grass. You get my point right? Become an entrepreneur and create opportunities to put your skills to the test for yourself and clients. You may work for free a few times to build up clients but then you will gain traction and start to charge and expand you client base.The skills you will learn in managing your own business cover everything from marketing, to business development, social media promotion and so many others.

Prepare Your Resume

The last thing you will need to do is learn how to translate all of your newly acquired skills properly on your resume. You can stop by your university career services office to get some help on your resume. They can work their magic so your resume can adequately show how you built a student organization’s membership from 3 to 70 in 15 weeks or how your superb organizational skills assisted you in managing the logistics of the men’s football team making sure all equipment arrived to away games. Get help, and then learn how to write and edit your resume so that you will know how to add your new internships each semester.

For more information about how to find the internship of your dreams, check out The Internship Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting the Internship of Your Dreams.