With summer internship season just about in full swing, you may feel like you’ve been left in the dust.
While most of your friends are staring up their summer internships, it seems like you’re the only one who hasn’t secured something for the summer. Feeling lost and frustrated with your internship search, you begin to wonder if you should just give up.
Before you decide to throw your internship dreams out the window, there’s something you should know: there are still many employers adding interns for this summer!
And, just in time, here are six tips that will help you find that last-minute opportunity:
1. Reach Out to a Family Friend or Relative
When searching for a last-minute summer internship, you need to be resourceful. Landing an internship at the last minute requires you to tap into connections you already have and ask around for opportunities.
A great network you already have is your friends and family. Most college students who need a summer internship at the last minute often reach out to their parents and relatives because they usually have a connection within the company they work for that could lead to an internship.
Research shows referrals are the No. 1 source for finding opportunities. Chances are, if you’re using a family friend or relative to help you find an internship, you’ll now have a referral to use to your advantage. Remember, finding last-minute internships are about leveraging your current networks. Start reaching out to people you have strong relationships with and see if they know of any organizations that could hire you on as their summer intern.
2. Don’t be Afraid to Contact Professionals
Professionals in your industry are a huge resource for your last-minute internship search. Even if you don’t have any connections in your industry, now is the time for you to start taking professionals out for coffee and setting up meetings over the phone.
Begin your search for professionals by researching companies you’d like to work for, LinkedIn groups, and Twitter. You need to find out where the professionals in your industry are working in order to make a connection with them. It’s also a good idea to reach out to people who are recently graduated or have a connection with your school because they’re more likely to to want to help you find an internship.
Once you have a list of people you’d like to contact, start sending out networking emails and even tweet with a few professionals. The key is to spark some conversations with these individuals and establish a genuine connection with them first, then ask them for advice. When you reach out to these professionals, show them how eager you are to learn and gain industry insight. More often than not, these professionals will be able to hook you up with one of their connections, which could lead to a summer internship opportunity.
3. Be Sure to Check Out Virtual Internships
Virtual internships are a great opportunity for college students looking to land a last-minute gig. Although virtual internships are growing, many college students don’t realize these opportunities exist.
There are a number of places you can look for virtual internships. Websites such as InternMatch or Indeed.com can give you a great start. You should search LinkedIn and Twitter for opportunities, too. Although many virtual internships are unpaid, they do provide you with flexibility so you can balance a summer job with your internship, too.
4. Check out Niche Job Boards
After doing a little research about your internships in your industry, it’s time tap into niche job boards. Niche job boards are post opportunities specifically for your industry. For example, if you’re a public relations or marketing student, a good niche group to check out is #PRintern | #EntryPR. Not only is this a useful LinkedIn group to join, but it also provides members with current job and internship postings, too.
Searching for niche job boards can be challenging, but if you reach out to mentors and your networks, you should find some job boards for your internship search. Once you’ve found some niche job boards, your next step is to find companies you’d like to intern for and begin the application process.
5. Go Through the Doors that are Already Open
As you’re searching for internships, think about the connections to opportunities you already have. Sometimes we miss out on internships that have been sitting in front of us the entire time when we ignore our current connections.
For example, your university is a huge door that has connections to internship opportunities. Meet with your adviser or professors in your program who could have connections to internships and additional summer opportunities. In addition, you should check in with your university’s career center to find out if there are any on-campus internships available to you. There are dozens of opportunities available that are convenient and easy to apply for; you just have to do a little investigating.
6. Create Your Own Internship
If you haven’t had any luck in finding internships, maybe it’s a sign you need to create your own opportunity. Think for a moment about the connections you’ve made on campus and the interactions you’ve had with the surrounding community. Is there any business or organization available that could benefit from your expertise?
Creating your own internship is definitely an unconventional way of gaining internship experience, but it’s a great way to take initiative. If you’re seriously thinking about creating your own internship, all you need to do is write an internship proposal you can give to local employers explaining how you’ll help their company as an intern. This way, you can get your foot in the door at a company and provide the organization with extra help.
Just because you haven’t scored a summer internship yet doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. If you remain persistent, show initiative, and use your resources, you’ll land an internship before it’s too late for summer!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at HeatherHuhman.com!
About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president of Come Recommended, a career and workplace education and consulting firm specializing in young professionals. Follow her on Twitter at @heatherhuhman.