Sincerely, The Intern: How to Find an Internship
Internships can be tricky to find if you don’t know what tools you have front of you. As a college sophomore who’s currently living and loving my fourth internship thus far, I’ve found a few solid tricks. Finding four different internships took some time, effort, and doing things for myself. Each one of my internships required me to locate and reach out to companies in a very independent, intentional way. But before you reach out, you need to learn how to locate.
So take these tips and then go forth into the world to find out what you love to do.
1. Career Services
Just about every college has a Career Services Department. The goal of this department is to help students locate, reach out to, and interview with companies they’re interested in working or interning for. These people have tons of resources to find local or remote companies that are looking for college students to bring on board. So set up a meeting time and let them help you. Tons of my friends have found internships through the CS Department, and they are really one of the most beneficial resources on a college campus.
2. Career Fairs
That’s right. The “speed dating” version of finding an internship. Going to a career fair at your school is one of the best ways to familiarize yourself with companies around you that are looking for college kids to work for them. If you’re like me, you may even go just to find out what all opportunities there are for your major. The first career fair I attended taught me that there are more jobs out there for a writing major than just writing novels and blogging.
Ah, the good ole Google Search. This is the method that helped me land two out of my four internships. I wanted to be a Veterinarian, so I decided I should get some experience in a clinic or two (good thing, because it turns out I didn’t like it so much). After I looked up the clinics near me and got a feel for which ones I liked the most, I called them to see if I could set up a time to meet the D.V.M. at each one.
Sometimes finding an internship means taking matters into your own hands without an invitation. Companies tend to find it impressive when a young adult is independent and persistent enough to seek out their own position.
4. Friends and Family
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having an in with a company because you know someone who works there, as long as you’re working just as hard or harder than anyone else. Ask around. Let people know what you’re interested in, and see what they have to say. My third internship was as a social media intern with my church. All I did was walk up to the photographer one Sunday and ask her if she ever needed any help, and she introduced me to the social team, who then gave me an internship. It never hurts to put yourself out there.
5. Networking and LinkedIn
You may think LinkedIn isn’t for you if you’ve had little to no work experience, but you’re totally wrong. LinkedIn is for anyone looking for business opportunities—no matter their experience level. It allows you to create an online resume that surpasses any paper one; make connections with previous bosses, professors, and professionals; promote yourself by uploading projects to your profile; view company profiles and stories of past employees; and most importantly, companies can find YOU.
If you want some more proof that LinkedIn can change your career experience, check out our article on why students need to make profiles.
6. Professors and Department Chairs
Your professors have most likely taught many students before you who have gone on to find careers—so they’re likely to have ties to employees who have previously been their students. Ask your professors when companies are coming to present on campus, because the events they tell you about are most likely to relate directly to your department or major.
This is how I discovered the company I’m currently interning with. I asked my technical writing professor to let me know when special events and presentations were happening in the Writing Department, and he did. I attended a short presentation where an employee came and spoke about what he did, and I showed extreme interest afterward, continued to email him, and eventually set up an interview—and now I’m here, in my fourth internship, writing an article about how to find an internship!
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