It may be fall semester but it’s never too early to start searching for internships. Regardless of the field you hope to go into, internships are a great way to gain practical experience. Not to mention, they serve as a great resume builder. Whether you want to work close to home, or are vying for a position in a big city like New York or Washington D.C., finding that perfect internship can be difficult. Everyone’s first piece of advice is to go to your school’s Career Center. That can be a great start, but there are other avenues to find great internships. Here are five ways to search for your perfect summer position.
Sometimes, your professors can be your greatest resource. A well-established and highly regarded professor often has many connections, or may know someone else who can connect you. Reach out to a professor that you know well and trust. If they know you on a deeper level, they may be able to help you find a position that works for you. If you go to school in the area that you hope to work in, this can be an even greater asset. Professionals tend to be more familiar and acquainted with other professionals in that area, as opposed to making a connection with someone in another city or state.
The intern queen
Lauren Berger, aka the Intern Queen, offers great tips and advice online to help you find an internship. She even has a tool on her site that allows you to look up different internships in different cities, depending on the kind of work you are looking for. Additionally, she has a YouTube channel filled with short videos on career advice and professional life planning.
Not only are networking events great places to make connections and meet new people, they are also excellent opportunities to find that coveted internship opportunity. I know these events can sometimes be a drag. No one likes to take the time to get dressed up while they are stressing for finals, but I really encourage you to do so. Taking the time out of your busy schedule to go meet new people really shows initiative. It shows that you are a go-getter who cares about her career. Alumni love to give back to their universities. They often hire current undergraduates. Colleges and universities always seem to be having events for different things on campus, so if the opportunity arises, I suggest you volunteer to either attend one of these events, or even volunteer to work the event. This can also be a great way to mingle with people.
This tip isn’t so much unconventional, as it is one that is often ignored. As someone who has been to countless career fairs at school, I will tell you that they are often boring and fruitless. However, that does not mean that they are worthless. More often than not, I see my peers being unsuccessful at these types of events because they do not take them seriously. Career fairs, or anything similar, can be a great resource, if they are used properly. In order to maximize your potential for getting hired, make sure you stand out, in the best way possible. First and foremost, be prepared. Dress professionally. Treat the entire event as one big interview. Make sure you are wearing an outfit that makes you feel confident, but is also business appropriate. No hiring manager is going to hire a college intern who comes in wearing jean shorts and a tank top. Make sure you have plenty of resumes or business cards handy. The company may like speaking to you in person, however if they have no way of seeing your credentials or to get in contact with you, you may never hear from them. Be as confident and authentic as you can be while meeting potential employers.
Your previous employer
Whether you are looking for your next job or internship, or just stepping foot into the interning world, your previous employer can actually be a great resource to find your next position. However, I give this advice with a bit of caution. This is only appropriate if you feel that you gave your absolute best effort at this previous position. If you’ve worked hard, and you feel that you’ve given your all to the company, and that position has come to an end, you may want to approach someone to look elsewhere. However, another word of caution, I would not suggest doing this if you feel there is still more room for upward growth within your current position. If there is, I would steer clear of outwardly looking for other work; it could make you appear not trustworthy or temporary. Yet, say everything is going perfectly well, and your job has reached its end, your previous employer may be able to recommend you to someone else either further up the ladder, or even at another company that could provide you with new experience.
Internships can be a great opportunity to gain new experiences, and learn more about a type of work that you previously only learned about in a textbook. While the hunt can be quite discouraging and exhausting, finding a killer internship can be a great addition to your professional portfolio. I encourage you to put your best foot forward, and go conquer your field.