8 Great Tips for Scoring that Coveted Internship

By Vanessa Bostwick on January 31, 2013

Competition for internships reached a fever pitch after the economy buckled under its own weight. Now that the highs and lows have begun leveling out and we’ve received some good news about the job market, we can expect to see more internships crop up in the next year.

But don’t think the competition will be any less fierce. In order to be one of the callbacks for these coveted placements, you’ll need to bring your A-game. Here are a few solid tips for landing an internship.

1. Talk to college faculty. Now is the time to approach your professors if you haven’t had a private audience yet. Ask them if they know anyone in the industry who is hiring or if they’d be willing to write a recommendation on your behalf.  You may have to ask two or three times, since professors can have very busy schedules towards the end of the year.

2. Check niche job boards often. In a recent survey by AfterCollege, students and alumni listed job boards as the most effective source for job seekers. Sites like AfterCollege have a plethora of internship listings along with other career resources to help you on your quest. Check out our internship listings here. Be sure and go to your department’s website often to find more updated opportunities. And apply, apply, apply.

3. Create your own position. If your applications aren’t getting any bites, perhaps it’s time to take matters into your own hands. If you know of a company that you’d love to work for that doesn’t have any internships listed, find out who your appropriate contact is and ask if you could submit an internship proposal. Think creatively on how you can contribute and blow them away with an entire career plan.

4. Throw a family and friends networking party. A recent survey found that one of the best resources college students have for landing internships is friends or family. But it can be painstaking and time-consuming to go after every lead separately. Instead, make it fun and personal for everyone by hosting your own networking party. Throw in some festive appetizers to spur conversation and you’re well on your way to getting some great leads.

5. Check with your career center or on campus bulletin boards. Career centers are liable to have a direct line of sight into internships that are through the school itself. Departments may also list up-to-date opportunities on classroom bulletin boards, on the department website, in the cafeteria, or through on-campus organizations.

6. Try your local charities. If anyone needs help, especially low-cost or free assistance, it’s non-profits. Although typically the positions are not as glamorous (many may involve you going door-to-door for donations or cold calling around your community) as you might have envisioned, you’ll get motivated knowing that you’re giving back to others while getting some much-needed and impressive work experience on your resume.

7. Look across the pond. This might be the best time for you to see a different part of the world and experience another culture. Teaching English as a second language, the Peace Corps, working for a cruise line, or becoming a part of a philanthropic project in a third world country are all examples of wonderful opportunities overseas.

8. Do something you’ve never thought of before. If you haven’t secured an internship in the field you’re studying, turn your world upside down by going after something that you have little to no experience with. You’d be surprised how many companies will consider someone with a completely different degree in order to get some fresh perspective. After all, isn’t college the best place for experimentation?

Found in Jobseekers