Internships are great for college students who want to gain relevant experience and establish connections in their chosen field of study before they leave university. As a student, you can also get a taste of what working a full-time job in the field is like through internships, and this can help you decide whether you want a career in that area or not.
Many large companies offer internships to undergraduate students and often recruit them as employees once they graduate. Small and medium-sized companies may also offer internships but they may not advertise them as widely, so sometimes you need to dig a little deeper.
If you find the process of finding an internship overwhelming, here are some tips on where to find out about internship opportunities.
Your university’s career office:
Some universities offer placement programs with local small and medium-sized companies or even within the institution itself. You may even be able to earn credits towards your studies through these placement programs.
If your university does not offer a placement program of this sort however, they will be able to direct you to the right place to find one or advise you on which companies to look into.
A company’s website:
If you are interested in working for a particular company, check out their website and look in the careers section. If you don’t see an internship position, it is worth the effort to send them an email to inquire about the opportunity, because if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
Friends and family:
The companies where your friends and family’s work may offer unadvertised internships and may stand a better chance of getting that internship if you have “insider knowledge”. Use your existing contacts to ask around about possible opportunities you may be able to pursue and if you’re lucky they may be willing to give you a recommendation.
Companies will often use their social media accounts to advertise internship opportunities so make sure you’re following companies you’re interested in and keep your eyes peeled!
Alternatively you can use social media to reach out to companies about possible opportunities, for example by tweeting to ask if they ever take on interns or connecting with one of the employees on LinkedIn. Showing initiative will help to make you stand out from the crowd.
You can also use social media to reach out to your network to ask if anyone knows of any internships that would suit you. You’d be surprised how much people are willing to help and a distant acquaintance may in fact know about your dream opportunity!
Online job boards:
Internships are widely advertised online. Here are some websites where you may find internship opportunities:
- Internships.com – This website is the Google of the “internship world”. It allows you to search for internships by location, industry, company, and job type. It also offers many useful resources for students.
- Idealist.org – If you want to intern for a non-profit organization, whether paid or unpaid, this frequently updated website is where you want to start. On this website, internships are sorted by area of focus, and each internship opportunity includes detailed information on requirements and how to apply.
- Experience.com – Many colleges use this website as a platform in their career centers for students to find jobs and internships, as well as other career related information such as job fairs.
- Mediabistro.com – If you have a media-related major, such as media studies mass communication, you may want to give this website a look. Mediabistro is a job board for media professionals. You can make use of the filter feature to look for internship opportunities specifically. In addition, this website contains useful information on media platforms and trends, as well as popular topics in the industry.
By attending careers fairs you will meet people working in your target industry who may be able to point you in the right direction, or even inform you of internship opportunities within their organisations.
A lot of those attending the career fairs will be there to advertise their internship programmes, so it’s the perfect place to find out about them and to make yourself known to those in charge of hiring.