Internships aren’t just resumé fodder.
They’re opportunities to get hands-on experience in your desired field. They’re chances for growth, exploration, and connection within your expertise and beyond.
That’s why you should seek your perfect internship match — and that’s not necessarily with a Fortune 500 company.
As UConn MBA student Jasdeep Singh advises, you shouldn’t let your perceived “perfect” internship interfere with finding the right one. Therefore, we’ve written a list of tips on sourcing the internship that’ll boost your future to new heights.
1. Understand Full Scope of Your Career Interests
Construct an idea of what you want, but don’t fret over the specifics. Take time to consider all your interests and how they could broaden your career options.
Are you a finance major, but love film and TV? Consider a business internship with a production company. Maybe you’re in an artistic field, but have a passion for mental health care. Try interning at a health facility or outreach program that emphasizes arts rehabilitation.
The world is your oyster; there’s no need to limit yourself.
2. Use Your Network
Discuss your career interests with college advisors, career counselors, faculty, friends, and even family. 70% of opportunities remain unlisted, and about 85% of jobs are secured through networking. It’s in your best interest to utilize your circle, you may discover opportunities no one else has access to.
Don’t forget your network also includes alumni, even if you haven’t met them personally. Just be sure to send a thank you to anyone who’s helped you along the way.
3. Start Early
Minimize stress by starting your search and application process early. Grant yourself wiggle room to check out your options, talk to people, research companies, and apply.
Companies don’t always offer internships year-round, so keep your deadline dates organized. Research every opportunity, but know what time-sensitive material to prioritize.
For the standard summer or winter internships, applications can open several months in advance. Applications surge a few weeks leading up to a deadline, so stand out by getting your materials in early.
The most important takeaway here is don’t procrastinate, or you risk missing out.
4. Hone Your Interview Skills
No matter the internship, you’ll face an interview process. You can prep by:
- Researching interview questions
- Staging mock interviews for practice
- Learning all you can about the company
- Preparing questions for your interviewer about the position
Interviews give the chance to discuss your qualification in-depth and to see if the company is the right fit for you. Preparing for the process will help you communicate your points effectively (and communication is one of the top values employers seek).
5. Consider Immediate Needs Alongside Future Goals
You may run into the dilemma of finding a fantastic internship that promises future success but doesn’t consider your immediate needs.
If money is vital right now, don’t opt for an unpaid position that drains your savings. The opportunity cost of unpaid internships is about $13,000. Narrow your search to paid opportunities to remain on a steady track forward.
And if finances aren’t a concern? Carefully comb through prospects for what provides the best learning opportunity and helps you gain professional skills.
Final Thoughts — Take These Tips with You
Keep your prospects open, use your network for personalized help, and give yourself the time you need.
Keep these tips, and your best interests, in mind during your search. It’ll take some hustle, but we’re confident you’ll find the internship that’s tailored completely to you.