College students, are you taking advantage of summer internships?
Having an internship is an important career-booster that can help you achieve better job search success once you graduate. Having some professional work experience prior to graduation will help your resume stand out in a sea of candidates who are trying to get their first job.
The practical experience you’ll gain is also an important reason to seek out internships. You’ll have the opportunity firsthand to see if your chosen field is truly right for you. It’s a great “test run.”
Internships also help you network and meet potential mentors. The contacts you make can help you find career opportunities as well as giving you valuable advice and guidance, potentially for years to come.
Clearly, there are many benefits to internships, but finding and landing an internship can feel challenging. Let’s start with setting yourself up for success:
Getting Ready to Search for Internships
- Start Early. It’s March, and if you want an internship for this summer you need to be actively searching right now. Ideally, you should have started months ago to have a shot at the more competitive internships, but there are still plenty of opportunities available. Do not delay!
- Prepare Yourself. Take time to reflect and make sure you can answer the following:
- What do you want? What type of internship do you want to pursue?
- Where do you want to intern? Do you have specific companies you’d love to intern for? For example, if you’re studying accounting, an internship with one of the big firms could be extremely beneficial.
- Are you willing to work in an unpaid internship? Or do you require compensation?
- Are you willing to relocate for an internship, or does it need to be local?
- Prepare Your LinkedIn Profile. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you need to prepare one before you begin applying for internships. LinkedIn is the largest professional network and it’s a critical tool not just for now, but for your entire career. This is a great resource on setting up a profile when you’re in college and these great pointers from Yale University are also helpful.
Where To Find Internship Opportunities
1. Tap into Your Network
You might feel that as a student your network isn’t very big, but it’s bigger than you think when you consider your parents, extended family, your friends, their families, etc. Have you ever even asked where your friends’ parents work? Make a list of everyone you know as well as their connections and find out where they work and what they do (hint, use LinkedIn!). Then, contact those people, tell them what you’re looking for, and ask if they’re able to help you.
2. Leverage Your College’s Career Services Office
This can an incredible resource for you in terms of finding opportunities and getting tips/pointers that can help. Hopefully your college has career counselors who are there to help you. Also consider tapping into your professors, other faculty, or any other types of college advisors.
3. Search Online
There are four online resources you should try to help you locate opportunities:
- Start with the major job boards, including Linked, Monster, Indeed, etc. Search for “internship” in your desired geography and experiment with different keyword searches until you find the internships you like.
- Search your career services’ jobs page (if they have one) or alumni careers site.
- Try sites that are targeted to internships, like Internships.com, joinhandshake.com, or wayup.com.
- Use Google searches. Experiment with different keyword combinations such as “accounting internships in Chicago.” This can help you identify opportunities beyond the typical job boards.
4. Target Specific Companies
Create a list of target companies you’d love to intern for and research their corporate websites. Many companies (especially the larger ones) have comprehensive internship programs that you can apply to. Here’s an example from Deloitte:
Here’s another example from Abbott Laboratories:
Make sure you’re following your target companies on social media, as they often post about internship opportunities.
5. Leverage Social Media
Use social media to search for groups or accounts that are focused on internships. A quick search on Instagram for “internships” reveals a lot of internship-related accounts. I especially love TikTok for this purpose! Play around with different searches and you’ll find a ton of information ranging from companies who are hiring interns to tips about landing the internship you want. Search “Internships 2023” or follow #internships. For example:
College students (and/or parents of college students), despite what you hear about layoffs and economic uncertainty, there is still a major shortage of talent in the U.S. and there will be for years to come. Smart companies use internship programs as a great way to attract and engage early-career talent. Try these five techniques and with a little effort, you’re sure to find great opportunities. Landing those opportunities is another story, for another blog!