I know you’re all still swamped with the work you neglected over spring break and don’t even want to think about the fact that exams are just around the corner. That’s why I hate to break it to you, but if you’re planning on sacrificing your summer for an internship this year, the time to start searching, applying, and interviewing was yesterday. But don’t worry – you can still start now!
Whether you’ve already pledged to yourself that an internship will be beneficial to your eventual career, or this article only just now put the idea into your head, it can be difficult to know where to look. After all, if we are going to spend the summer working for little or no pay, we want the best damn internship out there, don’t we? As a bit of an intern connoisseur (I have five under my belt), I’d like to help steer you in the right direction.
1. Your school.
When employers are seeking smart, motivated interns, they often look to the local universities. Check in with your career center and see if any intern positions have been posted, or if a career counselor has gotten any requests for qualified applicants. While you’re there, a counselor can help you tighten up that resume so you really have an impact when you start sending it out.
Or, even better: see if anyone in your major department can help you out. You can usually earn college credit through an internship, so your professors have seen hundreds of students complete internships that often required a work-log or journal to prove that they were worthy of X credit hours. In fact, many departments now require an internship to complete the degree, so they have to be ready to point their students in the right direction. Personally, my English program had an internship elective, and one professor served as the internship coordinator. She gave me a list of potential employers, and then put in a good word for me after I’d chosen a company to pursue.
2. Friends and family
If you’ve got connections, use them! Is your cousin already successful in her own career field? Ask her if she knows anyone in the industry who is looking for interns. Is your dad’s best friend from high school the CEO of a Fortune-500? Ask if he can put in a good word. Our “elders” have all gone through some sort of struggle to succeed in their careers, and are always thrilled to see a young yet motivated individual.
Personal anecdote: My cousin is a graphic design major. I recently had a woman in my office (my superior, but not my boss) send out a mass email to the college students at work because her friend was looking for an intern who was experienced in web design. Knowing my cuz was looking for a summer gig that would allow her to build her portfolio, I immediately sent it on, and she soon got set up with an interview.
Make a list of companies that you would like to work for. Whether it’s a convenient, local company or a super-famous American icon (hey, even MTV needs interns!), write down their addresses and send out your resume. In your cover letter, express the fact that you would love to do an internship for them, but that if they don’t have anything available, you would appreciate an informal interview with one of their agents. This shows that you are serious about the company, and while many unsolicited resumes go unnoticed, you may actually get that informal interview- and that’s how you start networking for the future!
4. The internet.
Come on. What DON’T we go to the web for these days? Even if you’re doing the cold-calling mentioned above, you might find internship listings on the company websites while you are stalking their current HR person. Most companies do have sections for internship openings in their “Jobs” sections, and you might even find an online application form or specific job requirements and details.
If you don’t even know what types of COMPANIES to check out, there are plenty of searchable databases like internshipprograms.com, internships.com, and internzoo.com. Even Monster has an intern section, or you can dare to go abroad via InternAbroad.
(Personal note: for artsy students, especially in the realm of theater, check out the job listings on Playbill.com, because all of the performing arts internships for the summer are being posted, um…. now!)
So, if anyone has specific questions regarding your personal majors/career fields/job wishes… post them below! Your fellow CC’ers can share their own tips from past experiences!