Internships provide incredible opportunities to expand your network, develop tangible career skills, and gain relevant experience in a professional environment. All of this will prepare you for a smoother transition from classroom to workplace. An internship on your resume also tells employers you’ve handled the responsibility of work with real-world consequences—and the connections you’ll build through your experience are also resources for recommendations once you begin your full-time job search.
The challenge begins with finding a position. We suggest you work smarter rather than harder by utilizing the following strategies:
Start with university resources.
Your college’s career services office is a perfect starting point for anyone unsure how to begin their internship search. Career specialists can help you practice interviewing skills, review your resume, and point you in a positive direction. Your academic department is also a great resource for information about current internship postings because they can narrow the search to your specific field. Check with your academic advisor, pay attention to department announcements, and connect with upperclassmen with previous internship experience to learn about potential opportunities.
Attend career fairs.
Beyond the value of providing opportunities to practice your elevator speech, career fairs truly can lead to both internships and jobs. Look for recruiting events or job fairs both on and off campus, and plan your approach strategically. Tailor your resume to the different types of companies or positions in which you’re interested. There’s rarely enough time to speak with every employer, so plan beforehand how you’ll target the handful of companies that best fit your criteria. When you arrive at the fair, begin your first conversation with an employer who ranks lower on your interest list to calm any jitters before moving to your top picks. Most importantly, relax and enjoy the opportunity! Even if you don’t receive an internship offer, you will gain valuable connections.
Even if you attend a career fair, recruiters may simply direct you to apply on their website, so familiarize yourself with completing online applications. Beyond company websites, countless internships are listed on job sites such as Indeed or Monster. Internships.com is another resource with thousands of internship listings you can filter by location and field.
Start your search early.
Depending on the industry, companies may begin their application process for summer internships as early as the fall. Additionally, if you need your internship to count for college credit, check with your department about application deadlines and any other academic requirements. Starting your internship search sooner rather than later will ensure you have all the information you need by the time you need it.
Network, network, network.
A majority of people find internships through personal connections. Not sure where to start building your network? Your professors, classmates, friends, family, and neighbors are all potential resources. Interested in a specific industry? Ask your advisor if there are any alumni who would be willing to share what they think it takes to enter their field. Finally, manage your connections with LinkedIn.
While these tips provide a great place to start, everyone’s search process may look a little differently. The key to remember is persistence. Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t offered a specific internship. You might be just one ‘no’ away from the perfect fit. When beginning your internship, ask thoughtful questions, engage fully, and treat your position as the remarkable opportunity it is.
Bethel strives to fully equip students to successfully begin their career after graduation. Learn how we accomplish all that and more through the R.E.A.L. Experience.