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5 Ways to Simplify Your Internship Search

Tue, Nov 6, 2012

Internship Information

There’s no magic formula to guarantee you will land the job you want after college, but successfully completing an internship will always be a powerful step in the right direction. Finding and excelling at an internship will give you valuable experience in your future field while helping you develop those incredibly important contacts that can write you letters of recommendation and refer you to hiring managers. It’s difficult to enter this job market with no practical experience on your resume, and with thousands of highly qualified applicants searching for jobs due to the poor economy, you’ll need all the help you can get. But how do you find the right internship for your needs? There are countless opportunities out there, and if you try to apply to all of them you’ll completely burn out. You have to tighten your search down to a few dozen of the best possibilities. So follow these five tips to help simplify your internship search.

First off, try to take advantage of any personal connections that could be useful. These can come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, so start by making a list that really gets you thinking outside the box. Do you have older friends studying the same field who have already landed internships in a previous cycle? Are you in any way connected to people who work within your chosen field? Any personal recommendation or suggestion is worth far more than a cold call. So start there to narrow your search.

Don’t forget to check in with your school’s resources as well. Every university has a job center, so head over there as soon as you decide you want to intern to see what they have to offer. They could give you access to an online search separated by job type. Those listed employers have placed students from your school before, and all have open opportunities. Don’t forget to speak to a guidance counselor there as well. He or she may know about some opportunities that haven’t been officially posted.

Next, make a list of the specific companies you want to work for. Instead of compiling a huge group based on the industry, come up with a small handful of companies with brands you love. Any mid-size or larger business will require interns, and many small businesses use interns as well. So instead of looking for job postings, go directly to each company’s website and see what they have available.

Still stuck for options? You’ll have to expand your search online and start looking at internship websites. But instead of hitting up a massive jobs board, look for internship sites that focus on particular industries. After a quick search you’ll find sites that list internships in journalism, fashion, engineering, public relations, entertainment, accounting and almost anything else you could think of. The more specific the listings for your industry, the better the chance you’ll be a perfect fit.

Attend your school’s job fair as a last effort to narrow things down. At these events you’ll have the opportunity to speak to representatives from each company. You’ll get a better sense of what they do, and whether it is a culture you are interested in. This is a great way to cut potential internships off of your list if they aren’t a fit, or to add possibilities you might never have thought of. If you’re working on a mental health counseling degree online and not attending a traditional university look for job fairs in your town, or in the closest local city. These may be larger events, but you’ll have the same opportunity to look over some companies and choose between them, well before you spend the effort on all of those applications.

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