5 strategies to find your dream internship
There’s more to learning than classrooms and textbooks. An internship is a common way for students to get real-world experience. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to learn more about American work culture!
What’s an internship? Being an intern means you help out at a company, either during the semester or over the summer. It’s not quite a job (and often doesn’t pay you money), but you do get work experience and sometimes college credit.
So how can you find one of these valuable internships? Start with these five ways to find an internship that will teach you a lot and look good when you apply for jobs after you graduate.
1. Talk with your professors
Maybe your professor knows of a lab assistant opening or has a friend who needs a marketing intern. Even if your professors don’t know of any opportunities right now, they can introduce you to people who might know someone. It’s like asking your friend to tell that cute person you like them – except, you know, super professional.
- Before you talk with your professors, think about what kind of opportunity you’re looking for. Make it as easy as possible for your professors to help you.
- And afterwards, send an email thanking your professors for speaking with you. In addition to showing appreciation, include a reminder of what kind of internship you’re trying to find.
2. Check with Career Services
The Career Services office can help you locate internships, jobs, volunteering opportunities and more. They’ve assisted many students before. So don’t be shy – they want to help, and the various organizations they know want a great intern (hint: that’s you).
- Look on the Career Services website before your visit. It will give you an idea of who you need to speak with, what internships are available and more.
- If you’re not sure what kind of internship you want, ask for examples of internships students like you have gotten in the past.
3. Search online
What can’t the internet do? You can video chat with friends back home, buy cheap textbooks online and watch fun movies instead of reading those textbooks. You can also use specific websites to research and apply for available internships.
- Start with popular internship websites like Internships.com, InternMatch.com, Experience.com and Indeed.com.
- Check the Careers or Jobs page of interesting companies near school. You can also call or email to ask if they have any internship openings not listed on the website.
If you are a KU student, check out KU career center for openings now!
4. Get used to networking
Actively reaching out to people you don’t know might seem strange to you. But like freedom and greasy breakfasts, networking is an American way of life. Knowing the right person is often just as good as being the right fit, so networking is a popular way of finding jobs and internships in the USA.
- Attend networking events, career fairs and club meetings on campus and around town so you can meet more people involved in things that interest you.
- It also helps to talk with your parents, relatives and people back home. They might know someone with an internship opportunity in the US or somewhere back home (especially helpful if you plan to go home for the summer).
5. Create a LinkedIn profile
If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, make that a priority (you can finish watching that fun movie later). LinkedIn is like a work version of Facebook – a social network for, well, networking. Perfect for including your resume or CV, staying in touch with past coworkers and highlighting recent accomplishments.
- You know how you might Google someone before a first date? Employers do the same for interns – having a LinkedIn profile with your accomplishments and skills show up can help you stand out.
- Keep it professional – don’t post anything crude or personal. Your goal is to impress someone who might hire you, not show how fun you can be.