As you probably know, internship positions are very difficult to land as there are so few of them. In fact, high competition for these positions has led to an increase in unpaid internships and the US Department of Labor has guidelines for the scope of these positions. If you are unable to land a paying position, we suggest a part-time unpaid internship (in addition to a paid part-time job) as a way to acquire the necessary and desired experience without quite so much financial pain.
Securing an internship (paid or otherwise) is largely about tenacity, connections and luck. It requires a lot of dedicated work to unearth a few opportunities, but the resulting experience can be highly rewarding and may go a long way in helping build your skill set and find work in the future. All three of the job sites we recommend have listings for internships. Go to Simply Hired, USA.Jobs and Craigslist, type in “internship” and your desired geographic location. Be sure and set up an alert so that as new internships are added to the site, you hear about them before others.
For summer internships, we recommend that you begin this process by January, as there is a lot of competition.
In addition to job boards, alumnae groups (found on LinkedIn, Facebook, your college website, etc.) are a great place to find internship opportunities. Watch for postings and be proactive by creating a discussion thread that puts the request out there.
If you are a current student or recent graduate, also make sure to check your university or college career center.
InternMatch is a site dedicated to internships, complete with job postings and guidance. Reading through their blog you will find listings for new and exciting summer internships. Idealist is another great place to find internships by geographic locale or interest. For those of you interested in social entrepreneurship, Ashoka offers internships of various lengths, volunteer positions and various other opportunities both nationally and internationally.
Startups–often short on cash and long on needs–may welcome additional hands during the summer to move the business forward. Interning with a startup can be a great way to learn many different skills and to assess whether you like small company environments. Crunchbase can help you find startups in your geographic area.
Aside from the practical experience of an internship, another option for exploring your career possibilities is a career assessment test. Although we usually recommend free services, The Keirsey-Campbell Interest & Skill Survey is a great place to start figuring out where your skills can take you!
For ideas and inspiration, meet Tamara whose multiple internships got her to the “hired” finish line.