So, you were busy all year and you never found time to search for a summer internship. Now it’s June and you’re not sure what to do!
Here are five tips from career advisors on finding an internship, even when it’s late in the hiring season.
1. Reach out directly.
Is there a company you’re interested in working for? Check out their website or LinkedIn page. Even if you don’t see an internship posted, contact someone at the company to check! Employers don’t always publicize their internships as heavily as they do full-time jobs. The best way to find out if someone’s hiring is just to ask.
Tip: If you’re not sure what companies to contact, use the Buzzfile Employers by Major tool. Buzzfile is not a job board, but a great site for finding all the employers affiliated with a certain industry in a specific state or city – try searching for employers with keywords related to your major, who are located near your hometown or the city where you plan to spend your summer.
2. Use your network.
Many jobs come not from spotting a posting online, but from a personal connection. You may not think you have a professional network yet, but you have connections through OSU whether you realize it or not! A few networking ideas:
- Ask career advisors, professors, friends, parents, co-workers and TAs who is hiring and who they can introduce you to. (Don’t know who your career advisor is? Check the Career Development Center staff list or email us to connect.)
- Connect with OSU alumni! Use OSU Connections (OSU’s online professional networking site) or LinkedIn (search for Oregon State University and then click the “alumni” tab) to find alumni who are working at companies you’re interested in.
- Even if someone isn’t hiring currently, you always can ask them for an informational interview. An informational interview is a brief call or meeting where you can get to know someone at a company you’re interested in, and learn more about what that industry is like. An informational interview creates a relationship and can lead to more opportunities. Check out the Career Development Center website for more about informational interviews and how to request one.
3. Customize your materials to each position.
Many companies are now using automated screening tools to filter applications. If your resume and cover letter don’t contain the key words the AI is looking for, your materials might not ever get in front of human eyes.
Look carefully at the job description and see what skills they are looking for, then find commonalities in your own experiences that you can list to show how you meet the specific requirements for that job.
Tip: The experiences you list to meet job requirements or keywords don’t have to only come from paid work! Classroom experience and non-paid work like volunteering, clubs, sports, Greek life and more can all help you gain transferable skills that are very relevant, and they’re valid to include when you’re applying!
4. Use a college-focused job board
Handshake is a job and internship search tool that’s specifically for college students and recent grads. While some jobs posted on Indeed or other job boards might be looking for people with years of experience, employers who post on Handshake are looking for college students. All OSU students have free access to Handshake via their ONID account – log in at oregonstate.joinhandshake.com.
A few tips on Handshake: this is a national job board with thousands of listings, so use filters to see exactly the kinds of jobs you want! You can filter by location, remote work availability, keywords and more. If you see a job you like, even if you don’t apply for it, favorite it – when you favorite certain positions, Handshake will show you more jobs like that next time you log in.
5. Use OSU’s free career services
Stop by the Career Development Center for a drop-in appointment or schedule an appointment in advance to work with an advisor who can help you tailor your materials and give you ideas about the best places to search for jobs.
You can also access free online tools through the Career Development Center’s website:
- a free online resume checker: Vmock
- An online interview prep tool: StandOut
- A career assessment tool that will help you figure out what would be a good fit for you: Focus2
More internship search tips
- Check out our overview for student job searches.
- Interested in a research position? See our list of OSU research opportunities and reach out to inquire about openings.
- Want to work on campus? Many OSU departments hire students for the summer or all year long. Even if the department you work for isn’t directly related to your major, it can still provide a great experience for your resume.