There are many ways to find internship opportunities and I always encourage students to implement all strategies. Before even starting to find an internship, it is a good idea to think about what you want to get out of the internship. In order to know what you want to get out of the internship, first think about what skills and experiences you need to have in order to get the job you want when you graduate. Check out multiple job descriptions, talk to people in the field and make a list of those qualifications. Then note the ones that you have and the ones you still need to develop. The ones you need to develop could be incorporated into your internship. For example, maybe you need to know a specific software program, or maybe you need to have experience presenting to others – include these in your learning outcomes for the internship.
Once you have identified the learning outcomes you will feel more prepared to find opportunities and you will appear more focused and confident to those looking to hire someone. Networking is always important, no matter the field, so tell all of your family, friends, professors, advisors, etc. that you are looking for an internship. Don’t just tell them you are looking for an internship, prepare a 30 second spiel that articulates what you want such as the industry, some companies or organizations that interest you, what you would like to get out of the internship, and anything else that you feel is important to include. You never know who someone in your network may know!
Besides networking, other strategies include paying attention to the emails you get from your professors, academic advisors, department, etc. Oftentimes they send opportunities your way but you have to actually read and follow up on the email. If your school has a job database this is another place to look for internships since employers are posting on that site because they want students from that particular school (at OSU it is Beaver JobNet). Career Fairs also often have internship opportunities, so be sure to attend! Depending on your major and field of interest, some companies have actual internship programs and those you can typically find on the company’s website or just do an online search of internship programs in “fill in the blank of your field.” Another great resource for internship opportunities are through professional associations. Every field has at least one professional association or society and many offer a student discount rate to join. Many also have internship postings on their website and you don’t always have to be a member to view them. Some companies are now recruiting through social media. LinkedIn offers job and internship postings and you can also search Twitter for internships in a specific field, for example, marketing internships. Just remember to make sure you have a clean and professional online presence!
These are just a handful of strategies to finding an internship…now just make sure you do at least one internship while in school. You’ll not only build a stronger resume, but learn about yourself and your future career.
Posted by Jen Busick Stewart, Career Advisor & Outreach Coordinator