Given the current state of the job market, many college students are growing more and more concerned about their job prospective when they graduate. A great way to not only explore careers, but to get your foot in the door with your dream company is through internships. They are an incredible learning experience and often help you land that full-time offer by the time fall rolls around.
Where do I start?
The problem with internship-seeking is many students don’t know where to start. Career centers are a good place to start and are found on most (almost all) college campuses. Stop by your career development center and have a counselor guide you through the different options that are available for students at your school. There are probably many programs that you can apply to that you’ve never heard of and the counselors are there for a reason! Maybe you’ll come across an opportunity that you’ve never heard of!
Ask a friend
If the career development center doesn’t provide the resources that you need (or if there isn’t a career center at your school), friends are also an excellent way of looking for internships. If they’ve worked there before, they’ll have previous experience with the company and will know where to look and who to contact for potential internships. Even if they haven’t worked for that company before, they might have more information on how to apply for different positions that that place.
On a similar note, LinkedIn is a tool used by many college students to network with different individuals at various companies to learn more about opportunities that are available for college students and graduates. It is also an effective for seeking out a mentor that can help you on the internship-seeking journey. Don’t be scared to reach out to individuals for advice! Many of them will be receptive if you craft a well written email or message that clearly introduce yourselves and what your goals are and why you chose to contact them.
Cold-calling employers can also be effective if you demonstrate a clear interest in the job or company. This method has a varied success rate; some will respond to your emails and phone calls while others will completely ignore your attempt to reach them. If you do manage to contact a representative at the company, be polite and effectively state your intentions. Just remember, it won’t hurt to try reaching out.
Last but not least, are the all-important college career fairs. Be sure to print out your resume and dress in a professional manner. Talk to the different recruitment representatives and get a good feel for the company. Also ask for their business card at the end of the chat to stay in touch. It is also a good idea to ask if they have individual recruiting meetings at your school that might allow you to get more face time with the company.
Internship searching can be intimidating but it doesn’t have to be! Start early and set clear goals for yourself. Soon you’ll be reporting to work at the company of your dreams!
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