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Top Ten Tips for Finding an Internship

There are many resources available for finding internships. Networking, attending career fairs, looking for internship listings online as well as identifying potential employers through classified ads, the local Chamber of Commerce or phone book are ways to begin conducting your search.

1. Begin Looking Early

Finding an internship takes some planning and may take some time depending on the type of internship. Be aware that certain industries and internships have early deadlines, and recruit and hire as early as November. Although this is not the norm, many summer deadlines occur between January and April. Beginning your internship search during winter break affords you additional time to look for internships and perhaps make some valuable connections with alumni or professionals within organizations of interest prior to returning to college.

2. Identify Career Interests

First of all, it is important for you to know what you want to do. Gaining experience in a number of career fields is an especially good idea if you have no idea what career you’re interested in pursuing after college. Do you want to work with children or are you more interested in investment banking? Are you interested in social activism and making a difference in the world? Maybe ’ like to work in an art museum or at a major advertising agency. Internships can give you exposure to opportunities such as these and a chance to "test the waters" of new and exciting career fields.

3. Network

Speak with family, friends, faculty, college advisors, and career counselors in the Career Services Office at your college about what type of internship you want and when and where you want to do it. Contacting alumni from your college and doing informational interviews can provide you with valuable information on career options you can pursue as an internship. Be sure to send a thank you note expressing your appreciation to them for sharing their time and expertise. 

4. Check Out Online Resources

MonsterTrak is recognized as the top college job search database that also lists many internships. Contact your Career Services Office to see if they partner with Monster and ask how to obtain a password. and from also list internships in a variety of career fields and locations. Last but not least, you can check out the classified ads in your local newspaper.

5. Attend Career Fairs

Check with your Career Services Office at your college to identify career and/or internship fairs occurring during winter break. Top employers attend career fairs to recruit, screen, and hire talented interns and employees. Be prepared to give a 60 second introduction that describes your skills, interests, experience, and motivation to the employer. Be sure to follow up with any recruiters you speak with at the fair.

6. Contact Employers

Telephone or visit employers in your geographic and/or career areas of interest and inquire about summer jobs/internships. Be prepared to give a 60 second promo regarding your skills, strengths, and motivation for working for them. Focus on summer jobs available and, if interested, consider camp or resort opportunities to gain additional interpersonal and communication skills. Temp agencies also provide information about the employment needs of local employers. Be sure to follow up with employers whenever possible to arrange an in-person or telephone interview. 

7. Become an Entrepreneur

Do you have special skills or a way of meeting a market need? I recently spoke with a college student who made over $2500 a week selling ice cream from a truck he rented for the summer. He was so pleasantly shocked by the success of his venture that he planned an extended trip throughout Europe. If you have a special skill or talent and an entrepreneurial spirit, it may surprise you at how successful you might be.

8. Gain Experience as a New Graduate or Career Changer

New graduates and career changers can also do internships to gain perspective on new career fields and develop new knowledge and skills. Internships can be the bridge between an unsatisfying career and a potentially new and exciting venture. You can use both internship and job search databases to identify organizations that meet your criteria. 

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