By now, you’ve likely heard that completing one or more internships during college will help you prepare for life after college. However, what if you are having trouble finding that summer internship?
The reality is there are plenty of internship opportunities out there. To find them, sometimes you just need to be creative in how you look – and network!
When seeking an internship, start by exhausting all your campus resources. This may include job and internship databases and talking with your advisor or professors. Ask other students if they’ve heard about any good opportunities. Talk to everyone, including your parents. You never know who has that golden connection that will get you that perfect internship.
Facebook can be used for more than playing Words with Friends.
Make Facebook – and other accounts like Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest –work for you. Begin following (follow, don’t stalk) the accounts of businesses or organizations that fit your interests for internships. Learn about the companies and discover where your talents could best serve them.
Some companies may have a page detailing internship opportunities, but if there is none, get creative. Take initiative and contact the company to offer yourself as an intern for the summer. Be sure to have a quality resume and a strong pitch detailing exactly why it would benefit them to have you on board as an intern.
You also can post that you are looking for an internship on your own social media accounts. Make sure you post in a professional manner; never appear whiny or needy. (Of course, if you’re using Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest to network, keep all of your posts professional and clean)
If you currently have a part-time job, it may hold more benefits than a weekly paycheck. Those 20 hours a week put in at the country club pro shop selling ECCO golf shoes, insignia polo tops and sleeves of Slazenger’s – or any other part-time scenario – may be your ticket to a future internship.
Each week as the variety of professionals pass through your work, take a few minutes to network with them as you ring up their orders or solve their problems. Don’t be pushy, but mention that while you love your part-time job, you are in the market for an internship. You never know, you may be able to make a helpful connection.
Finally, approach your manager and ask them if they know of any internship opportunities. They may not, but they may know other business leaders in the community who can help you – and you’ll further your network as you speak to those new contacts.
From Volunteer to Intern
Giving back to your community is never a waste of time – an you just might make an internship connection through volunteering. Places like the YMCA, youth clubs, Salvation Army and hundreds of other non-profits always need volunteers. . Talk to the managers and ask if your volunteer position could expand into something more encompassing like an internship. You might not get paid, but you will earn valuable work experience helping others.
Lean On Your Library
Your local library is a treasure trove of information. Librarians often have their finger on the pulse of a community, especially in smaller towns and cities. They can tell you who may have summer openings for internships – and can direct you to other sources. You can also choose to volunteer a few hours a week at the library – and extend your network further.
Internships are out there, but the market for the obvious and widely advertised positions often is very competitive. Avoid much of that competition and make more internships available for yourself by being creative in your networking. With just a bit of extra effort – and by looking in all the right places – you’ll find hidden internships, or even create your own!
About the Author: Ashley Spade, in addition to being a social media ninja and alumna of several successful internships, is a law student in the Windy City. She lives, plays, and studies in Chicago with her ever-faithful sidekick, Sir Winston Pugsalot the First. Follow their adventures on Twitter or via ProfessionalIntern.com.