How to Find Internship Opportunities

FT Contributor
A businessman stands behind an "interns wanted" sign.
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, whether paid or unpaid, offer a wealth of opportunity to students. In addition to relevant work experience, internships offer benefits such as the possibility of getting a job.  

There are many ways you may find internship opportunities that relate to your course of study or the career path you want to pursue. Networking, attending career fairs, checking classified ads, and checking listings online are all viable portals you could take to a variety of internships.

Regardless of where your interests lie, it’s important to strategize when it comes to finding the right internship opportunity. Identify what your career goals are, then find the internships that are right for you so that you can prioritize your applications according to deadlines.

Learn more about the best places to find internship opportunities.

Consider Why You Want to Intern

It’s extremely important to take the time to evaluate whether taking on an internship is right for you. First, assess what your interests are. From there, determine what you want to get out of an internship. Are you seeking to gain relevant experience? Do you want to see if you like a particular career path or industry? Are you pursuing college credit?

Internships may offer all of these benefits and more, but you should always enter into an internship with good intentions so that you get the most out of it.

When considering why you want to be an intern, you might ask:

  • Do I have the time to be an intern? Make sure the internship fits into your class schedule.
  • Is the internship paid or unpaid? If it’s unpaid, make sure you can afford to take on a role that doesn’t offer money.
  • Is this experience going to be relevant to me? Don’t take an internship that doesn’t interest you.
  • Does this internship meet my major requirements? Some colleges require you to complete an internship to graduate.
  • Does this internship have good reviews? Find out what previous interns have to say about their experience.
  • Can I get to the location of the internship easily and affordably? The location of an internship is important, especially if you’re working with a schedule or on a budget. In some cases, you may have to relocate if you’re interested in a specific opportunity.
  • Can I meet the responsibilities of the internship? The company won’t expect you to have a ton of experience, but a willingness to learn is vital.

If you can answer these questions with confidence, you may have found the perfect internship opportunity.

Look for Internships Online

There are plenty of places you can look online to find an internship. Be sure to use any online portals provided at the career services office at your college or school. In addition, you may check these job boards for internships:

Find Internship Opportunities Through Networking

In addition to searching online, you might find internship opportunities simply by networking. Speak with teachers, instructors, college advisers, and career counselors about your interests and the types of internships you’re looking for. Don’t overlook any family, friends, or previous bosses who may be able to provide advice or have an “in” somewhere you can pursue.

If you’re a current college student, consider contacting alumni. They may have connections that are of use to you. Regardless of who you network with, it’s important to send them a thank you note. You should express gratitude to anyone who helps you find an internship. No matter how big or small an alumnus’s effort may be, thanking them will help maintain the connection in case you need to ask for help in the future.

Scout Internships at Career Fairs

Often, colleges host career fairs where students are able to find internships as well as job opportunities. If you choose to attend a career fair, it’s important to prepare ahead of time.

Update your resume and print copies to bring with you. Leaving a resume may help you capture the attention of employers you’re interested in interning for. Additionally, prepare a 60-second professional introduction that describes your value and what you will bring to the company as an intern.

Remember to ask for business cards so that you can connect with potential employers on platforms like LinkedIn. You may also want to send an email reexpressing interest in a particular internship once the career fair is over.

Contact Employers and Companies You Are Interested In

If you have your heart set on a particular industry or company, do some research to see the types of internships they offer. You could also reach out to those employers directly, whether it’s in person, over the phone, or online. In some cases, it’s wise to write a professional letter to an employer asking for information about their internships.

Try to find the hiring manager or human resources director, as they’ll most likely have the information you’re looking for. Have your 60-second introduction prepared that details what you’re looking for and the value you will bring to a company. Also, be sure to inquire about short-term or summer opportunities that will allow you to gain valuable skills that align with your goals.

Through careful research, you’ll be able to find an internship opportunity that’s right for you.

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