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!
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.
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 ACTION: Find 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!
It’s February. Three months before the members of the graduating class triumphantly enter the ranks of the “real-world.” Across the U.S. college seniors are experiencing mixed emotions ranging from excitement to anxiety, from stress to fear. Job, new apartment, moving, leaving friends, going back home, all of it is enough to drive anyone crazy.
There are those few seniors who have already accepted job offers and can breeze through a little less stressed this spring. If you are not among them, then the simple question of, “so what are your plans after graduation” can seem like the most difficult question that anyone has asked you in the last four years.
What if I don’t find a job? Did I do enough internships? Where am I going to live? Should I go to graduate school if I can’t find a job? These and other questions are running through your mind possibly keeping you up at night, while your roommate doesn’t seem to be worried at all because after all, there are still three months left until graduation.
So, what are you to do?
Take a breath.
I can’t answer every question you have about finding a job in a single post. I can however, offer some guidance to get you on track to finding that first “real” job out of college and attempt to calm some of the voices of fear and doubt in your head.
1. Start looking for a job ASAP
Visit career services and get your resume and cover letter in order. At this point in your career, your resume should not exceed one-page. Even if you have done 8+ internships (like I did) you still need to make your work experience fit on one page. It’s okay to have two different resumes that highlight different skills and goals, it is not okay to have a two-page resume. Due to the mixture of internship and work experiences I had in college, when I graduated I had a sales focused resume and a public relations focused resume.
Career services is there to assist you in making your resume professional and polished. There will more than likely be a spring career/internship fair on your campus, which gives you the perfect opportunity to take your new resume for a test drive. Most career services offices offer mock interviews, so schedule an appointment and start working on your interview skills. You can pay a professional service to write your resume, but use free campus resources first.
2. Talk to people
Reach out to your network and let them know what types of opportunities you are looking for. Talk to everyone from your recently employed friends, to your parents, your friends parents, your fraternity/sorority connections, professors, internship supervisors, mentors and members of professional associations. Your network of people might be bigger than you think. Don’t rely only on internet searches and sending off countless resumes. Word of mouth can be a powerful tool.
In order to talk to people about what you want to do, you need to first have an idea of what you want to do. So, think critically and carefully about your next steps so that you will be able to identify opportunities as they come up. Get out there and attend networking events. If you are intimidated by the prospect of going to a networking event alone, find a fellow senior who is in the same boat and go together, but don’t spend the night only talking to each other.
3. Balance your time
Set aside atleast two hours a day for job search related activities. Finding a job isn’t just about sending out resumes. Dedicate time to researching companies, finding networking events to attend, using social media, scheduling informational interviews, touching up your resume, writing cover letters, applying to openings and following up.
It doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you get organized, schedule your time and don’t try to do everything at once. You still have classes, study time,
campus activities, maybe an internship, job, a social life and other things going on, so organization is key!
4. Use social media wisely
I know I said a few times that you have to get off of the computer and talk to people, but that is because I don’t want you to depend ONLY on the internet for your job search. Social media can be a valuable tool in finding a job. If you haven’t yet, join LinkedIn, a social network for the business world. You can create a profile and connect with potential employers, research companies and discover job or internship openings. Follow companies that you are interested in on Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnacpChat and Facebook. Those connections will allow you to see how potential employers engage with their audiences.
Before you begin, inspect your own social media sites for compromising content and consider activating all of the privacy settings. You may use social media to peak at potential employers, they may do the same to you so be careful about what is available to the public.
I know I said four things, but as a bonus I have to tell you to enjoy yourself. Don’t get so caught up in the job search that you fail to enjoy and embrace the last few months of this unique time in your life. Celebrate the accomplishment of completing your degree! You can be serious and diligent about your job search and still make time to live in the moment and create more memories before you say good-bye to your college days.
Updated Dec 5, 2020
There are a number of reasons why recent college grads should consider post grad internships. In a perfect world, you bang out your final exams, graduate, maybe move to a new city, set up your new apartment and start your career at a well-paying job the week after graduation. Well, that idea has been thrown out the window – thanks COVID! For a lot people, post grad internships while we recover from COVID-19 might be the best short-term solution.
An 8-12 week post graduation internship might be a better alternative to taking any unfulfilling full-time job. The best scenario is a paid internship of course, however, if you find a flexible full-time job, you could still intern for 15-20 hours per week at the same time. Overall, the additional internship experience buys you time while you build your resume, look for a job and wait for the economy to bounce back. Doing an internship after college does not mean you’ve given up!
“75 percent of employers report that the primary focus of their internship program was to recruit college graduates for full-time, entry-level positions.”
1. Employers like to hire previous interns
According to a recent National Assocation of Colleges and Employers Survey, 75 percent of employers report that the primary focus of their internship program was to recruit college graduates for full-time, entry-level positions. For employers, the opportunity to work with an intern for a few months is the best way to observe if that person will be a good fit with the company long-term.
For you, internships let you determine if you want to work for the company or in that field. Getting invovled, working on projects and contributing to an employer through an intership is your best chance at showing them why they need to hire you. Be the exceptional intern and you could go from intern to employee before the internship is over.
2. Post grad internships can give you work experience
Post grad internships give you additional work experience. Work experience is the #1 thing employers look for in a new hires. Maybe you’ve heard people say, “how am I supposed to get experience if no one will hire me“, the answer is internships. Employers like to see internship experience because it shows that you have had a chance to apply your classroom knowledge in a real world setting. The classroom, your grade point average and the college you attended can only take you so far. You need to be able to show that you can contribute on the job and learn quickly. Use your internship to gain or improve new hard and soft skills which will make you more marketable.
Consider that in this post COVID-19 world, there are industries that have flondered and others that have flourished. A post grad internship could be the way to enter a different industry that you hadn’t thought of.
3. You’re not excited about your major
When you started your college career you may have been all gung-ho about your major. Somewhere along the way you just lost the excitement you once had. An internship in the field could confirm that you really don’t like it or remind you of why you were excited before. The good/bad thing about an internship is that it is for a set period of time. At the end of 8-12 weeks, if you find that you actually do hate the field, your co-workers or the company, you can leave with no strings attached.
I did eight internships in college. As a public relations major I did internships in business, sales, marketing, public affairs and public relations, in different sectors for companies and organizations of varying sizes. What I learned about myself, the workplace, and the skills I needed for each profession was invaluable! Getting beyond your major could be an eye opening experience for you.
4. Build Your Network
Networking is a major component to finding a job. Some surveys say that up to 85% of people find their jobs though networking. Your network might be bigger than you think when you stop to consider friends, family, fraternity or sorority connections, the university alumni network, religious affiliations and professional organizations. However large or small your network, spending time at an internship provides the opportunity to expand your network.
I recommend doing multiple informational interviews while at your internship to learn about different positions as well as the people in those roles. Networking opportunities can also lead to you meeting and connecting with mentors. Mentors are an incredible resource and you should make an effort to establish a relationships with someone who can be a mentor. The guidance of a mentor could help you clarify where you want to work and what you want to do.
5. Graduate school is expensive
I took two years off between my undergradate and graduate degrees. I thought I knew what I wanted. As graduation grew closer, I only seemed to get more confused about location, law school, grad school, b-school or going straight into the workforce. I returned home to Rochester, NY and landed my first full-time job in college admissions. That two years of work experience helped me gain clarity on my professional and academic goals, pay down some student loan debt and save money for moving to Maryland for graduate school.
In turn, the work experience I gained made getting a graduate assistantship (GA) an easier path for me. I was a GA in the Office of Student Affairs. As a graduate Assistant, my tuition was 100% covered the university in exchange for 15-20 hours of work per week. In addition to my tuition being covered, I was paid $12,000 per year. My graduate assistantship (similar to an internship) allowed me to continue to build my resume, get involved on campus and helped clarify my professional goals. It also saved me about $25,000.
6. Where to find post grad internships
So if you’ve established that a post grad internship might be a good idea, what’s next. There are some companies that have been doing post grad internships for years.
Those are just a few companies offering post grad internships. Check sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster and other job search engines. Also, subscribe to my Diversity Internship Directory, a comprehensive listing of companies looking for diverse interns and new hires. Depending in the industry, it migh be easier post COVID-19 to find an internship over a full-time job.
7. You can perfect your job searching skills
If you can master the internship search process, you will be better at searching for a job. For either purpose, job or internship, you need to put together a well-crafted resume and cover letter. Putting together a superstar level LinkedIn profile is also a necessity in todays competitive work environment. If you have never been on a professional job interview, interviewing for internships can help you gain confidence in your interviewing skills.
Deciding to do an internship post-grad doesn’t mean you just apply for everything you see and hope for the best. Develop a strategy and understand what type of internship you are looking for. What skills do you want to enhance or learn? Is there a particular industry or company you want to work for? Just like your job search, your internship should be focused too. My free Internship and Job Tracker walks you through the steps of getting your internship game plan together.
The key to success is to be proactive. Get your resume together, apply, network, learn new skills, practice interviewing and do an internship. Evaluate what you want and see if it is in line with the skills you bring to the table. It may not happen overnight, but you will breakthrough.
If an internship is not your choice, then jump into your first post graduation job, make a few dollars and understand that it is only the beginning!
In today’s competitive marketplace, internships are no longer optional for graduates who want to successfully transition from student to working professional. A pivotal role, parents can help and hurt in the internship search process.
Even the most well meaning parents can get too involved, while others might feel they don’t have anything to contribute. The truth is somewhere in the middle.
Internships: The Great Equalizer
I spent five years managing a national internship program that placed students from across the country in paid internships with major media companies. From major television networks, to Hollywood studios, professional sports leagues, telecom companies and other facets of the media world, these internships were all paid and highly competitive.
No matter what school they attended, at the start of every summer my students were all equally set to spend the summer at an awesome major media company internship. Internships can be the great equalizer when it comes to the job search. The students in my program came from different colleges, with different price tags and prestige levels… but all earned top notch internship opportunities.
How parents can hurt the internship search
Do not take over
Resist the urge to do the leg work. It is not your internship search. This is the practice run before the job search happens after graduation. Parents can be a resource, pass on information and make introductions. They might make mistakes, not follow up in the appropriate time frame or some other error, but they will learn. Be there to offer suggestions, but do not take over the search process.
Depending on when you last searched for a job, the tools and the landscape may have changed. Companies regularly use Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to look for interns and new employees. LinkedIn is the top networking site for professionals to connect and resumes no longer include objectives or references. Parents could unknowinlgy be providing outdated advice.
Do not write their resume
Unless you happen to be a career coach or work in human resources, send them to career services at school to get help crafting a professional resume. You pay tuition, use career services! Resume formats may have very well changed a lot since the last time you wrote a resume. Resume and cover letter writing are skills that students should master in college.
Do not do their follow up for them
If your child applies for an internship, DO NOT call the company to inquire about the application. If your child fails to follow up, take it as a lesson learned. Nothing shows an employer that the prospect is not ready for a professional internship like having “mommy” call to check on things.
Do not go on the interview.
Just don’t. Drop them off and keep it moving.
How parents can help in the search process
Do start the conversation
Start a conversation about when and where they are planning to start looking for their dream internship opportunity. The beauty in this process is that you can start searching for internships at anytime. Most students and parents fail to realize that many of the best summer internship deadlines happen in the fall. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the New York Times Newsroom, Google, Facebook are just a few internships with fall deadlines for the following summer.
While working at a big name company is a get for anyone’s resume, the goal is any quality internship. In my Internship Manual Toolkit, I provide a complete timeline to help with the internship search process, no matter the time of year.
Do establish expectations
Even if it is not required for graduation, make doing internships a requirement for your support.
Discuss when they plan on doing them and periodically check on their progress. Require that they visit the career services office to have their resume reviewed and that they participate in a mock interview – all before senior year.
Set the expectation with them for how many internships they will aim to complete before graduation, and hold them responsible for execution of the plan.
Do help them dress professionally
Most colleges have a fall and/or spring job fair on campus. These events are usually free and bring hundreds of employers right to the campus. Ask your student when this event is being held at their school.
The dress code at a job fair is usually professional dress. Send your child off to college with a few professional wardrobe items. For young men, a suit would be great but a shirt, tie and khakis or dress pants and shoes are a start. Young ladies, a suit would be nice, however, a classic white shirt and properly fitting dark colored dress pants or skirt, with a blazer is a start.
Do Not show up at the college fair.
Do let them experience rejection
In the event the internship search results in a rejection from a dream internship, Do NOT call the company and ask what happened. You can encourage them to make the call, but if they don’t, let it go. The same will hold true when they don’t get that first dream job. Rejection is a part of life and it is no longer your job to try and fix it. If that company was having second thoughts and you called, you might have ruined their chances. No one wants to hire an intern… and their parents.
Do encourage exploration
My philosophy is that students should engage in multiple internships so that they can stretch their wings. So often students, and parents, can be laser focused on one major and career choice, often to only find they don’t like it. Job hoping too quick after graduation can be frowned upon, but trying multiple internships is acceptable behavior.
Between freshman year and graduate school I completed eight internships. Internships in non-profit management, marketing, public relations, publishing, journalism, sales and business. My B.A is in Public Relations and my MS in Professional Writing.
In addition to hands on experience, internships are also about learning about work environments, office politics, dealing with politics at work and many other adult issues that might be uncomfortable. The more exposure, the more prepared anyone can be when the real work world comes knocking on the door.
Internships are becoming the currency to employment after graduation. Landing a desirable job with little-to-no experience can be a difficult task. However, students who participate in one or more internships have starting salaries that are on average $15,000 more than their classmates who did not.
Don’t let internships be optional. Take these steps to support and encourage your student to find and complete as many internships as possible.
You’ve reached the halfway point of your summer internship and it has pretty much sucked. If you are thinking about quitting, I have a few tips to help salvage your summer before it is too late. Even if you do have the internship of your dreams, do these things to make the experience even better.
You feel like all you do are mundane and mindless tasks? Perhaps a simple shift in perspective will allow you to dig deeper and see how all of the pieces fit together. I’m not trying to say that getting coffee has a higher meaning, but some boring projects could teach you more than you think, if you take the right perspective.
Interns that I hired in my office often had the not so sexy task of doing data entry of student information. I always did my best to explain how the pipeline of recruitment worked and what happened to those names and contacts once they were entered into the database. In some circumstances, I was able to let them attend a recruitment event with me so they could see just how those names were gathered.
By putting everything into perspective, it gave the interns the opportunity to understand the entire recruitment cycle and how we developed a marketing strategy. There are projects that you might be working on that have a bigger impact than you think, not exciting but necessary.
Ask for more challenging work
If you continue to prove yourself by completing the simple tasks you are given, don’t be afraid to ask for more challenging work. Let your immediate supervisor know that you are capable of doing more and giving more to the department. Sometimes it is about letting them know that you are ready to take on additional duties. That initiative could go a long way into letting your supervisor know you are serious about learning and your contribution to the company.
Make moves to expand your network
As you complete your projects for your supervisor, ask if it is okay for you to assist other people in your department or other departments. By networking with others you can share your desire to learn more about the company and new skills. Along the way you could make a connection with a potential mentor. If no one has additional work for you, consider using your time to conduct informational interviews so you can learn more about other jobs in the company.
Part of being a stand out intern and eventually a promising young professional is the ability to bring fresh ideas. Take time and observe what is going on around you. Learn the processes. By learning, observing and asking questions, you can begin to think of simple improvements to your assignments. Perhaps there is a faster or more efficient way to do something. Bring it to your supervisor and it might be adapted as a new way to do business. Don’t be discouraged if your idea isn’t implemented, keep bringing new things forward.
The summer internship period is almost over. Finish strong. If you recently graduated and you are trying to turn your internship into a job offer, check out these 9 Moves That Could Take You From Intern to New Hire.