Getting an internship is an important milestone in a student’s college career. Internships open the door for career opportunities by giving you a chance to show your employer that you’d be a great fit with the company after the internship ends.
If they like you, they’re likely to either offer you another internship if you’ll still be in school next year, or they’ll offer you a job for when you graduate. It’s an amazing feeling to have a job secured before you finish with school because it’s one less stress you have to worry about.
An internship also gives you highly valuable experience that you can put on your resume to show other companies that you’re serious about what you want to do when you get out of school.
When I went to school for my first bachelor’s, I didn’t bother getting an internship anywhere. I was confident that I was going to a health profession school after completing my bachelor’s, so my college career lacked any real-world experience outside of my part time job.
I didn’t make that same mistake during my second bachelor’s degree program. Through 5 key steps, I obtained multiple internship offers, and I interviewed with even more companies. Having multiple internship offers allowed me the opportunity to decide where I wanted to go as well as consider potential job offers after finishing the internship.
If you’re trying to obtain an internship while you’re in school, here are some things I did, and I hope you find them useful in your search.
- Utilize school resources
Most schools have a career center, or something similar, where you’re able to inquire about job opportunities, networking events, and professional development.
I utilized my career center frequently whenever they hosted events such as resume workshops or mock interviews. Their job is to be a resource for students, and they can provide a wealth of information to help you land the internship of your dreams.
They were also a lifesaver with regards to getting my resume presentable for companies. There are many people out there who charge for services like this, but your school more than likely offers this service for free.
Tip: If you haven’t already, check out your school’s career center and see how they can help you succeed.
2. Go to all company hosted events
Different companies often visited our school to meet with students and share information about the company.
I highly recommend attending as many of these company hosted events as possible. It was through one company meet and greet that I received an internship offer on the spot.
If you struggle with meeting new people or networking in general, I wrote a post addressing some things you can do in these situations called Networking As An Introvert.
3. Attend Career Fairs
Career fairs that are organized by your school are great opportunities to put yourself out there and network with other companies. Many times, companies are looking out for students graduating soon as well as those seeking internships.
Tip: Research what companies are going to be present and see what they’re looking for at the career fair. Look for companies you’re interested in networking with, and print enough resumes to cover those companies, plus a few more just in case! This will save you time on the day of the fair.
Make sure you do your research ahead of time on what each company does, so when you get asked why you want to work for that company, you’ll have a stellar answer ready to go!
Also, have your elevator pitch ready to present! This is a quick rundown of who you are, what your interests are, and what you bring to the table. It’s a way to spark interest in the people you’re networking with and a great jumping point to talk about why you’d be a great fit with the company.
4. Reach out to the department head of your college
The department head for my major was an incredibly valuable resource. Companies would email him job and internship opportunities, and he would send them to the students.
Try to set some time with your department head to talk about internships and see how they can help you. Or if they’re busy, you can always reach out by email to see what opportunities he’s come across.
It’s important to know that for every successful student that leaves the college with a job, that’s one more student that makes the college look good. So, it’s in their best interest to help you find success in your internship search.
5. Attend your classes and be engaged
This is an important part of how I got multiple internship offers. When you attend your classes, engage in what’s going on in the class, and show you care, the professors will see that. The professors themselves have valuable insight into opportunities for students.
I had a couple professors who would ask students who were doing well in their classes what their summer plans were. If they didn’t have any plans, the professors would provide themselves as a resource to obtaining one, if the students were interested.
Going to class and doing well also puts you in a great position to ask for a reference letter if a company requires it. The more time you spend with the professors in class and show you care, the better the letter will be. And, you’ll definitely want a stellar letter of recommendation.
6. Prepare for interviews
This is probably the single biggest factor in obtaining an internship. When you receive an opportunity to interview with companies for internships, it’s important to prepare for each interview.
To prepare for your interview, take the time to do background research on the company and figure out why you would want to work there. Look up reviews from other people who interviewed with them for the same position to get an idea of what questions you may be asked. The better prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be when you’re interviewing for the internship.
I went back to get my second bachelor’s degree in my late 20’s. As a nontraditional student, I was able to secure multiple internships by doing these 5 key things:
- Utilize school resources
- Go to all company hosted events
- Attend Career Fairs
- Reach out to the department head of your college
- Attend your classes and be engaged
- Prepare for interviews
I hope these tips help you in your internship search like they’ve helped me. Remember to like, subscribe, and share, and I look forward to hearing from you!