Trying to land the perfect internship is no easy task. Most college students know how important the experience they’ll gain during an internship is to their resume and ability to find a job after graduation, but don’t know how to approach the internship process. Luckily, finding an internship doesn’t need to be as stressful as finals week. Use this guide to help remove some of the tension out of the internship process.
Decide your career goals
Before you begin your internship search, first determine what you’re looking for. What kind of careers do you think you’d be interested in doing? You don’t need to know precisely what job you want, but determine a few industries that you would like to explore better. Having a general idea of what you’re looking for will help you narrow your search options, so you don’t feel as overwhelmed by what’s out there. This will also help you to determine if what you think is your dream job is actually a good fit for you.
Leave free days in your class schedules
There are both summer internships and internships that occur during the semester. When picking out your classes for the semester, consider building your schedule so you have a few days with no classes. This will offer you more flexibility to take an internship during the semester. Potential employers will appreciate the flexibility, and it may give you an advantage over any competition with a strict schedule.
Go to career fairs
Many colleges host a career fair during both the fall and spring semesters. These fairs have a number of employers looking for both interns and permanent employees. Be sure to attend all of these fairs and bring an updated resume. Before the fair, research the employers that will have a booth set up and find a few that really excite you. Be sure to stop by their booth and introduce yourself and strike up a conversation. The representative will remember you as personable and will be more likely to interview you than if you just sent in a resume online.
Visit career services for help
Almost every college and university has an on-campus career center to help you find both jobs and internships. The career center will know where past students received internships and what local businesses are looking for interns. They’ll also help you to write and revise your cover letter and resume to ensure you have the best chance of being hired. Some will even conduct mock interviews to help you improve your interview skills. These centers are often an underutilized resource, so be sure to take full advantage of yours.