Even if you’re tapped into your university’s career center and job board, finding an internship is a major challenge for most college students and recent grads.
The reality is: most internship postings aren’t advertised on popular job boards, including your career center’s. Which means that when it comes to finding an internship that fits your interests and professional needs, you must be innovative.
If you’ve been stressing out about finding a great internship for the upcoming summer, here are four unique techniques you should try:
1. Pitch Your Own Internship
Is there a business in your area that you’d love to work for after college? Or do you see a need for your expertise at a nonprofit organization? Consider pitching your own internship program to employers and create your own internship experience.
When pitching your own internship program, there are a few steps you should follow. The first step is to create a proposal for your internship. This proposal should include details about the skills you have to offer the employer, what you plan to accomplish, and how the employer will benefit from your expertise. Next, outline the hours you’re willing to work each week and desired compensation. Following these steps will help you create a professional proposal that will hopefully land you a unique internship.
2. Volunteer With an Organization You Love
Volunteering is a wonderful way many college students find internship opportunities. If you’re currently volunteering with an organization you’re passionate about, you might want to inquire about internship opportunities.
Now, there are a few things you should keep in mind when requesting internship experience from a nonprofit. Although the internship will most likely be beneficial for your career, you’ll want to follow the guidelines for unpaid internships. Make sure you’re not working more than 10-15 hours a week or replacing a full-time employee. This will ensure you don’t get burned out from your position or end up working on projects that are beyond your duties as an intern.
3. Enter a Competition
Student competitions offer college students the opportunity to put your skill to the test, build your portfolio, win scholarships, and most importantly, land a highly sought-after internship. It’s also a good way to gain industry-related experience and add accomplishments to your resume.
There are several ways you can find competitions for college students and recent graduates. The first step is to get involved with professional on-campus organizations. For example, you could join a debate team where you’re given many opportunities to speak professionally. You could also join organizations like the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) or American Marketing Association (AMA) where there are dozens of opportunities for students to enter industry-related competitions.
Finally, there are a number of online platforms available that help students get involved with industry-related competitions. Use tools such as Wrangle to connect with employers who offer competitions for students and recent graduates. This is a great way to apply your knowledge and get noticed by top employers.
4. Inquire With Your Current Employer
Believe it or not, many students turn their part-time jobs into internship opportunities. Whether you’re working at a local business in your college town or write for your school’s newspaper, there are a number of opportunities for you to turn your college job into internship experience.
For example, let’s say you’re a public relations student and you’re currently working in the financial aid department at your university. Ask you supervisor if you can create a social media and content strategy to build awareness of student loan debt for students on campus. This is a project that could turn into a public relations internship for the semester and you wouldn’t have to worry about sacrificing your job.
These are just a few ways you can find an internship without relying solely on job boards or career services. By using your resources and marketing yourself to employers, you’ll be able to find a rewarding internship that fits your career goals.
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.