It can be hard to know where to look to find an internship. Rather than waiting until the last minute (also known as April) and scrambling to find an internship, why not start exploring opportunities now? There are tons of resources available to help you secure a job or internship and make the whole process a lot less painful. Scope out some of these resources over the next few months and you’ll have a summer internship locked down in no time!
If there is a specific company you want to work for, you can filter through your connections to find a contact by searching for, “People who worked at Her Campus Media,” for example. Even if you aren’t personally connected with someone at the company, you might have a shared connection.
Mary Lothrop, assistant director of health professions and STEM advising at Middlebury College, says that once you’ve made contact with someone, you should send a professional but friendly email or message inquiring about any internship opportunities at your connection’s company. If you’re close with the shared connection, you may even ask him or her to put in a good word for you! As an added bonus, potential employers will often check out your LinkedIn profile, and if they see that you’re connected with one of their current employees, they’ll be more likely to trust you and think you fit the company.
Another reason to take advantage of LinkedIn is that many companies post internship opportunities under the “Recent Updates” section of their profile, which makes it easy to search for internships at your favorite companies. LinkedIn also lets you search for internships in a certain field and geographic location, which makes it easy to pull up a list of finance internships in New York City, for example.
2. Industry-specific websites
If you know the industry in which you’re hoping to intern, there’s probably a specific website or database dedicated solely to internships in that field. We’ve compiled a list of websites and the industry or field they’re tailored towards, so you can focus on opportunities that make sense for you.
- Ed2010 lists magazine internships and is a great resource if you’re interested in media.
- Pathways to Science is ideal for collegiettes interested in health professions or STEM fields, as it offers scholarship opportunities, webinars, summer research opportunities and information about paid internships.
- Mediabistro is full of opportunities in the media and communications industry.
- The Career section of Fashionista is perfect if you dream of interning in the PR department of a fashion house.
- The Association of American Medical Colleges features a list of summer research opportunities available to undergrads interested in the health professions.
- Idealist is a great option for nonprofit internships, as it “has over 100,000 organizations listed, and you can search it using location or a specific social issue, which helps you narrow opportunities down,” says to Tracy Himmel Isham, associate director of professional and career development at Middlebury College.
The huge multi-industry databases like Internships.com and SimplyHired are great, but it can be annoying to have to wade through tons of irrelevant postings to find ones you’re interested in. Scoping out websites and databases specifically tailored to your industry of interest is an easy way to streamline the internship search process and find more specialized opportunities.
3. Your school’s career center
Ah, the career center: That building you always walk past but never actually enter. Well, consider this your motivation to set up an appointment, because your college’s career center is an absolutely amazing resource for finding an internship. Yes, the advisers can help you polish your resume and practice your interview skills, but they also can help put you in touch with the right people to find opportunities.
For example, if you’re interested in health professions or STEM internships, Lothrop says, “we already have many affiliations in place with labs and hospitals, and even if we don’t already have something established that meets the needs of the student, we’re happy to help connect them with opportunities in their area or help them figure out how to best leverage their own networks to develop new opportunities.”
Counselors at your career center can tell you what past students with your major and interests did for internships and even provide you with alumni contact information so you can do some networking and ask them questions. Lothrop encourages students to talk with career advisers to “develop a strategy for identifying and securing opportunities that would be a good fit for them.” Career centers also have tons of information on nonprofit and abroad opportunities as well as internships covered by grants and other types of funding, so you don’t have to necessarily rule out that amazing internship just because it’s unpaid!
4. Your school’s alumni network
When you think about all of the people who have graduated from your college in the last few decades, you’ll realize that your alumni network is basically a gold mine of potential internships. You can try to connect with alumni through LinkedIn or the career center, but most colleges have an online database designed just for alumni to post jobs and internship offers to current students.
Since these people are looking to hire someone from their alma mater, the pool of applicants is much smaller. Be sure to check out the resume or biography of the alumna who posted the job to see if she participated in any of the same clubs or sororities as you. Since all the applicants will be from the same school, it’s important to emphasize other personal connections to make yourself stand out.
Don’t forget about recent graduates, too! “I found my current internship at a YouTube production company through one of my sorority sisters who graduated in June,” says Iris, a junior at the University of California, Los Angeles. “She emailed our sorority listserv about the opportunity and made sure our applications were considered.”
If you have friends or sorority sisters who graduated in the last few years, don’t be afraid to reach out to them and ask about internship openings at their companies!
5. Academic advisers and professors
Sometimes the most valuable resources are the people you see every day! Most college professors and academic advisers are very in the know when it comes to their field and the opportunities it holds. Your favorite prof might know of a colleague looking for a research assistant for the summer, or she may be in touch with an old graduate school friend who’s an administrator at the nonprofit you hope to work for – you never know!
“My boyfriend is a classics major, and after asking his professor about summer internships, he ended up working with him on an archaeological dig in Greece,” says Vivian, a senior at Middlebury College.
Lothrop recommends asking your favorite professor if he or she needs any help doing research or working on a book this summer. It would most likely be unpaid, but it’s great work experience—and you won’t have to worry about having a nasty boss!
Finding an internship doesn’t have to be stressful, especially if you get a head start (no waiting until spring break!) and know where to look. Take advantage of the many resources at your disposal, and you’ll have your dream internship locked down before you know it!