It’s that time of the year again. With the Fall Semester’s end on the horizon, the internship search is now getting into full swing. If you’re a junior (like me) this time might be full of stress as you’re frantically searching for a competitive internship. If you’re a senior, this time might be doubly stressful as you’re researching grad schools, preparing applications, or perhaps looking to secure employment post graduation.
But, don’t fret. With these tips, you will be well-equipped with the relevant knowledge to go through your internship search process.
- Think about your goals
An internship is the time to “test the waters” and see whether or not you really like the field you plan on going into. Before applying to companies, think about what you want to gain from that internship. Research the company and their culture and identify locations where you may want to work. Don’t feel boxed in by you major choice. As I mentioned before, an internship is the time to try out new things without the commitment of a full-time job, so feel free to try out new experiences.
- Start early
It’s always good to start your internship search early. Take this time to carry out in-depth research and touch up your resume. Be aware of deadlines – certain industries can have early deadlines. Many competitive internship programs start their recruiting process in early fall (for finance related internships it starts even earlier!). Try to make a schedule with all the deadlines of the internships you want to apply for. A general rule of thumb is to start your internship search at least a month prior, to allow yourself time to perfect all of your qualifications as an applicant.
Don’t wait for an internship to come to you! Be proactive and use your network to increase your chances. Ask your friends, family, friends’ family, school, and work contacts to find possible internship opportunities. Use Linked.in to try to find and reach alumni who are working in a company or industry you’re working in. Attend industry events in your area – in fact, Toppel has several networking and industry-related events each semester. The truth of the matter is, in this day and age, simply sending your resume out to employers in hopes of a job is not a viable method for securing employment anymore. Having a network you can utilize is becoming more essential in choosing a satisfactory career.
- Use Handshake
Handshake is one of the best resources you have when it comes to finding internships as a UM student. Handshake is essentially a job-posting site affiliated with out university to help students find primarily off-campus employment. One of the best things about Handshake is that many of the companies who post job openings on there have been approved by our Toppel staff and are specifically looking to hire UM students. On Handshake you can filter internships by location, whether it’s paid or unpaid, seasonality, among other criteria. If you can’t find the exact internships you want on Handshake itself, you can utilize other resources like UCan Intern (internships in different parts of the U.S), GoinGlobal (internships abroad), WayUp (internships at start ups), and LiquidCompass (healthcare-related jobs), which are all also conveniently located on Handshake under the Resources tab. If none of these work, you can utilize Linked.in, Indeed.com, Monster.com, Internships.com, and a number of other online resources to find the ideal internship.
The process of applying to internships is a long and arduous one, but by preparing and following these tips you can make the process easier. Good luck, Canes.
By Cayla Lomax, Peer Advisor