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!
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.
- Ask Around
- Get help from career services
- Search in unconventional places
- Online research
- 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.
While finding a summer internship in late April or early May isn’t the ideal way to go about it, you can still get out there and make it happen. In a recent article, Daniel Bortz interviewed me along with a few other experts to give you tips to make the last-minute internship search process a success.
How to Snag a Great Last-Minute Internship on Monster.com.
Don’t have an internship lined up for the summer? Take a deep breath. It’s not too late—so long as you’re willing to put in the work.
It’s true: You’re a bit behind the game, as deadlines for applications at many companies with formal internship programs have already passed.
Now for the good news: There are still internship opportunities up for grabs.
“Many small and medium-sized companies don’t realize they need interns until April or May rolls around,” says Lauren Berger, CEO of InternQueen.com, “so they post their internship openings relatively late.”
Since you’re in a time crunch, you’ll need to ace the application process. You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, right. Easier said than done.” Well, not necessarily—if you follow these steps.
Focus on the right internships
The last thing you want to do is panic and spend your time applying to every single internship you can find. “You need to take a targeted approach,” says Sharise Kent, author of The Internship Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting the Internship of Your Dreams. “If you’re a freshman who is applying to internships typically reserved for juniors, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage,” says Kent. Focus on programs that fit your skills and level of experience.
Moreover, make the best use of your time. Before you spend hours applying to two- to three-month-old internship postings, pick up the phone and ask the company whether the position is still available, suggests Stephanie Waite, senior associate director of Yale’s Office of Career Strategy.
Customize your application
Recruiters and hiring managers can tell within 10 seconds if you’ve sent a generic application, says Berger. To stand out, you’ll need to tailor your resume and cover letter to each internship—and by focusing on five internship applications instead of 50, you’ll have time to do this.
Incorporate language from the job posting and the company’s mission statement into your resume, says Berger. Using the right keywords will help your resume pass through an application tracking system.
Use this same strategy to help you write a killer cover letter. “It’s all about dropping the company’s name throughout the letter,” says Berger. “That way, when the hiring manager reads it, they feel like the letter was written just for them.”
Keep the cover letter brief; Kent recommends writing three to four paragraphs. “It doesn’t have to be a full page,” she says.
Carve your own internship opportunity
Some companies simply don’t have established internship programs. Many startups, for example, can’t afford to hire an internship coordinator. Meanwhile, “a lot of companies haven’t hired interns before, but they’d be open to it,” says Waite.
If this is the case at one of your prospective companies, take initiative by creating your own internship at the organization. Find recruiters either through the job posting or on social media, and reach out to them directly. Be mindful of your approach, though. Ask about the company’s needs and whether they’ve ever considered hiring an intern, rather than immediately requesting an internship.
Even better: Identify problem areas at the organization and show how you can provide value, says Kent. For example, if the company isn’t active on social media, offer to help develop their strategy.
Be willing to commit
If you’re short on time (e.g., the application is due tomorrow), you may have to pull an all-nighter to get the work done or—gasp!—spend the weekend in the library.
But for the right internship opportunity, it’s worth putting your social life on standby, says Eric Woodard, director of the office of fellowships and internships at the Smithsonian and author of The Ultimate Guide to Internships: 100 Steps to Get a Great Internship and Thrive in It.
Remember to proofread
This might sound obvious, but when you’re under time constraints, you’re more likely to make typos, Waite says. Hence, you need a second pair of eyes—ideally from someone who is an expert in the field.
Have a mentor or a professor proof your resume, since the person knows the industry lingo, advises Waite.
To help you stay organized in your last minute frenzy, download my free Internship Manual Toolkit. Your search can end successfully if you get moving on your project with laser like focus.
I like when college students come to my door and try to sell me stuff. Strange, I know. Why exactly would anyone want to answer the door for a salesperson? Well, I like to hear their sales pitch. My husband finds this brand of entertainment amusing and thinks I am crazy. Since I work with college students and many of the salespeople who knock on my door are young folks, I like to think of it as research.
The summer internship season is fast approaching and there will be a ton of sales and marketing internships and summer jobs available. When I worked placing interns with major media companies, there were always an overwhelming number of requests for sales interns. The positions that I filled ranged from selling internet or cable services door-to-door to supporting sales teams negotiating multimillion dollar advertising contracts for major television networks.
As a ardent advocate of students doing at least four internships in college, I think at least one of those internships should be in sales, no matter your major. The transferable skills you can gain in selling products or services are super valuable across most careers no matter your professional goals.
The transferable skills you can gain in selling products or services are super valuable across most careers no matter your professional goals.
I was a public relations major who completed eight internships between undergrad and grad school. Two of the eight internships I did were in sales. Senior year I took my one and only business elective (an advertising course). I learned more about sales and business in those two internships than additional business courses would have taught me.
Take a look at the 2017 Top 50 Internships ranked by vault.com there are multiple companies that deal with financial and retail sales. Sales positions will always be around. You don’t have to always be a business, sales or marketing major to land an internship in those areas. Companies value liberals arts background as well technical backgrounds, if you can get the job done.
Transferable Skills You Can Learn in Sales
So why exactly do I open the door when I know all they want to do is sell me something? Just yesterday, I had a young college student knock on my door to try and get me to book an appointment to get a quote for new windows on my house. Much like when I interview candidates for internships or jobs, I was observing to see if he was making good eye contact, displayed confidence, was knowledgeable, seemed genuinely interested in the product he was selling and if he seemed to be making stuff up.
A good sales person makes eye contact, displays confidence, demonstrates knowledge, is genuine, can problem solve, and can think quickly on their feet. To be successful in sales you need to be creative, organized, be able to handle rejection, be persistent, have great public speaking and presentation skills, have solid writing skills, and have better than average research skills to find leads and understand your competitors offerings. According to a survey of hiring managers by payscale.com:
- 39% of managers found their recently matriculated hires to be lacking in public speaking skills
- 44% of managers surveyed said new grads lacked writing skills
- 36% reported lower-than-needed interpersonal and teamwork skills
- 56% indicated that new grads fail to pay attention to detail
- 25% felt new grads lacked grit
Those hard and soft skills that employers are looking for are not all going to come from the classroom. After 8-12 weeks in a sales role, most interns will walk away with enhanced skills in all of these areas and more.
The young man at my door was very confident in his sales pitch and did the all the things he’d been taught to say to overcome my objections, without being pushy. He did a really good job. I didn’t book the appointment because I’m not in the market for windows. I did however ask him to wait for a minute while I went and got a a copy of my book, The Internship Manual: A Step-by-Step-Guide to Getting the Internship of Your Dreams to give to him for free.
I Sucked at My First Sales Internship
My very first internship freshman year was in group sales for a professional AAA baseball team. I am a sports junkie and at the time my goal was to work for a major sports franchise in any area. I was not very successful in the sales aspect of that first internship. I only sold two groups of tickets, one of which was to my church. Looking for leads, cold calling… it was a lot of work but it taught me to work through rejection and be persistent. It was often frustrating, but earning a commission on those two group sales was a pretty good feeling.
My second sales internship was my senior year when I participated in the Enterprise Rent A Car Management Internship program. I wasn’t cold calling or door knocking, but working in sales and marketing I learned about upselling, offering additional products or services and maintaining relationships with local companies in an effort to keep and increase sales. Like I said, sales happens in many different ways. I spent 8 months with ERAC at three different locations. I enjoyed my time and recommend it to students who want to gain some solid business, sales and marketing experience.
Over the course of my professional career, I’ve worked in sales of products or services with varying levels of success. Even in my positions that weren’t directly sales related, I’ve often had to call on my sales skills when creating new relationships, presenting new ideas in meetings, and developing new business opportunities. Even in networking situations, solid sales training could help you become comfortable talking to complete strangers and learn to develop a quick but impressive elevator pitch.
Do Your Research First
Some companies will attempt to lure broke and unsuspecting college students with promises of big money in just a few weeks. However, don’t just jump at the first company that promises you can earn $50,000 over the summer. Do your research and learn about the company and if it is a good fit for you. Google is your friend to find out what others have to say and also check with your university career services office.
In another occurrence a few weeks ago, I had two young men attempt to sell me on a new energy provider. They told me that they “managers of all the area energy company providers”. Really dude? It was a very short conversation because I clearly knew they were lying. Make sure the company is legit and reputable. If you don’t believe in or even like the product or service yourself, then you won’t be successful anyways. Working in sales does not mean lying for a living.
At the end of it all, you don’t want to waste your summer working for a company that doesn’t really care if you succeed or not. A good company is going to provide real training and invest in your success while teaching you good sales strategy. Sales can be a tough place to succeed. I’m not trying to get you to change major or career goals, but merely want you to expand your horizons and accept different challenges that will help you become better at whatever career you decide to pursue.
Download my free Internship Manual toolkit for a roadmap to finding the right internship.
I was recently interviewed for this article which was written by Daniel Bortz. The article appears on Monster.com.
Aiming to turn your summer internship into a full-time job? Good news: your employer wants that, too!
The primary focus of most companies’ internship programs is to convert college students into entry-level employees, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ 2016 Internship & Co-op Survey. But if you intern for a medium or large company, you’ll likely be working alongside a group of interns who are also gunning for a job offer.
And unfortunately, there may be a limited number of full-time jobs available at the company. So to land one of them, you’ll need to bring your A-game. Take these steps to become the all-star intern.
Highlight your accomplishments
As “the intern” you might be inclined to keep your head down, get your work done and cross your fingers in hopes that your supervisor will recognize your great work.
Don’t just assume this will happen automatically.
“Be loud and proud about your accomplishments,” says Lauren Berger, CEO of InternQueen.com. Read: the onus is on you to get on your manager’s radar.
We’re not saying grab a megaphone and tout your achievements from the roof of the building. Instead, send your boss an email on Fridays recapping your accomplishments for the week and any challenges you faced. “The goal is to promote yourself while maintaining a sense of humility,” says Berger.
Make valuable connections
If the word “networking” makes you cringe, we hear you on that. But here’s the thing: Job candidates with an employee referral are 40% more likely to be hired, research shows. To find that coveted career advocate, arrange one lunch or coffee date per week with a different employee, millennial career coach Kim Carbia recommends.
When possible, meet with two people at the same time. “Group lunches are less intimidating for employees,” says Carbia. “It takes some of the pressure off and makes people more inclined to accept an invitation.”
Also, make sure that you prepare questions in advance. Know what each employee does so that you can tailor your talking points, says Carbia.
Focus on results (not logging extra hours)
We’ve got great news: Unless it’s the company norm, these days, you don’t need to stay late to impress your boss.
“Just because you put in extra hours doesn’t mean you’re performing well on your work,” says Sharise Kent, author of The Internship Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting the Internship of Your Dreams. Kent says productivity is most important to managers, so demonstrate that you have time-management skills by handing in projects ahead of deadline rather than at the last minute.
Instead of sneaking looks at your phone to check your recent Snapchat stories if you finish your assignments early, ask your boss for new projects to take on.
“Find out if there’s an ongoing project that your supervisor would like you to work on,” suggests Kent. During slow periods, you could also ask your boss for permission to assist other departments, which gives you exposure to other areas of the organization.
Speak up during meetings
Put simply: Don’t be a fly on the wall. “You’ll stand out if you can make valuable contributions to the conversation,” says Carbia. You don’t need to offer groundbreaking insights—just bring creative ideas. To ask thoughtful questions, research the meeting’s topic ahead of time so that you can adequately prepare.
Moreover, “you offer a unique perspective as a college student,” says Carbia. “A lot of companies are targeting a young customer base, and you already know how those consumers think and behave.”
Show you’re plugged in to the industry
Part of being an A-grade intern is keeping up with what’s going on in the industry. This entails reading the company’s newsletters, press releases and trade journals. Then, to show that you’re tapped in, “ask your manager how specific trends are affecting the company,” says Kent.
To improve your performance, you’ll need feedback from your boss. “Asking for constructive criticism lets your manager know that you’re serious about learning and shows that you’re teachable,” says Kent. But since many managers are reluctant to offer their input, it might be your responsibility to ask for it. Caveat: “Your manager probably doesn’t have time to give you daily feedback,” says Kent, but your supervisor will probably be open to meeting once every one to two weeks to discuss your work.
During these meetings, ask for specific feedback. For example, “How could I have improved my presentation from last week?”
Ask for a job
It sounds obvious, but a lot of interns don’t inform their manager that they’re interested in a full-time position at the company. Make your intentions known—and don’t want until the last day of the program. “You should plant the seed that you want a job about a month before the end of your internship,” says Carbia.