Getting an internship, especially after your junior year of college, is one of the most important and helpful steps you can take as an undergraduate. However, finding one in your field can be a challenge.
The first thing you should do is check with career services.
Your school’s career center or guidance office will usually have a list of internships available in the area or offered through your school. Check with them first!
The people in these offices are there to help you, so take advantage of their presence.
Sometimes you’ll be able to get an internship with someone affiliated with your school, increasing your chances of turning an internship into a full-time job and building work connections.
It’s best not to rely on just your university’s resources to find an internship. Unfortunately, there aren’t many great sites to find internships with.
Google and your university’s career center will likely be your best options.
Otherwise, it’s best to search not for internships specifically, but to look for companies or organizations that you have an interest in.
If you have a specific career path you want to explore, you should take the initiative and look around on your own.
Check with businesses or organizations nearby that work in the area you want to learn more about.
Call them on the telephone, drop an e-mail, and at the very least check out their website (if they have one).
Become familiar with what they do and whether their mission matches your interests before you even get in contact with them; such familiarity will help your chances of getting their attention and interest, and by extension increases the likelihood that you’ll get an internship.
Even if the organization doesn’t have an opening at the moment, you can at least make a good impression so that they’ll remember you and might contact you if an opportunity comes up.
Remember above all that the goal of an internship is to develop skills and experience that you will use after college, in the job search and beyond.
It’s also important to remember that the life of an intern is rarely glamorous; many locations have their interns do the dirty work of running the company and keeping things going smoothly.
If you do your job well, your supervisor will be more willing to entrust you with more complicated and important tasks; this is how someone turns an internship into something more, or gets a recommendation for other employment opportunities, or develops a connection in the field.
As a result, you need to emphasis your willingness to work, ability to work independently, and your understanding that an internship is a learning experience.
An internship is as much learning how to work in a certain environment as much as learning about the career you want to pursue long-term, and you should approach your search for one appropriately.
Follow this advice, keep looking for opportunities, and keep reaching out to potential internship opportunities, and eventually you’ll find someone willing to give you a chance. The rest is up to you.