Assuming you’re not graduating, meaning that a full-time job isn’t foremost in your mind, you should be focusing on how your current internship can help you get to the next level of internship—either in your current organization or the next one. And if you are graduating, this final internship needs to be packaged to its best advantage to increase your job choices.
Identify The Next Level Up
Are you enjoying what you’re doing? Would you like to deepen your knowledge and experience in that area? Look around the organization and see who is doing the kind of work that interests you, and is either a lateral move or one step up from where you’re working now. Talk to your current boss about your aspirations and enlist his help. Assuming you’re doing a good job now and are engaged with the organization he should be pleased to help you.
Write Your Job Description
Perhaps using your internship job description, create a professional write-up of everything you’re working on. Check with your boss to see if there are additional tasks he has in store for you. And have him double check that you’ve covered all the bases in your review of your duties. Then, once you’ve identified what you would like to do for next year, write up an aspirational job description including the skills you have to offer. You can present this to your prospective boss for your next internship to show your depth of interest and knowledge.
Get the Lay of the Land
Now that you have your new job description written, you can use this as a jumping off point to start looking at similar organizations. Find out who your company’s competitors are, with the help of your boss and any other internal intelligence you can seek out on the job. Try Googling your industry or interest plus the word careers to get more info. For example, using quotes, type “writing careers” or “environmental careers”, and see what comes up.
Also, go to LinkedIn.com (if you don’t have an account, you should) and type in the search bar some job titles that match your interests. Check on www.youtern.com to see if you can find internship titles and descriptions that match your interests.
Armed with this new information you are on your way to doing a competitive internship search while understanding the landscape of your field of interest.
About the Author: Allison Cheston is a New York City-based career advisor who works with mid-career executives and young adults to help them identify their unique value in the marketplace and explore alternative careers. Allison is the author of an upcoming book In the Driver’s Seat: Work-Life Navigation Skills for Young Adults, to help young adults from late high school through college develop strengths and interests and match them to internships, coursework and, ultimately, the right job.
Cheston blogs frequently on career issues for young adults at her own blog, In the Driver’s Seat as well as at Forbes. She also blogs for mid-career professionals at The Examiner. You can reach Allison on Twitter.