When it comes time to look for internships, there are some pretty basic search methods everyone knows. There are big job boards like Internships.com, Glassdoor, and Indeed.com that list hundreds of internships all around the world. The problem with big sites like these is that everyone uses them, so the positions have a lot of competition.
There are some other, less common ways you can find internships — you don’t have to be stuck using mass job boards. Here are nine other places you might find internship opportunities:
1. Niche boards. If you’re overwhelmed on those mass job boards, you might find it useful to change it up with a more niche site. Every industry has some form of niche job board. For example, if you’re interested in a job in the government, you might use USAJobs.gov. If you want a job at a nonprofit, try Jobs.Change.org.
2. Companies in your area. Think about local companies, both large and small. If you can’t think of any, take a walk around your town to see if any places catch your eye. Contact someone at the organization to find out if they have internship programs or could use some extra help.
3. Think beyond offices. You might picture an office with cubicles for your internship, but there are many other jobs you may not have considered. Places like museums and parks are also great options for your internship. Get creative!
4. Your school counselor. Your college has a whole team of counselors whose jobs are to help you find internships. Don’t neglect them as a resource. You’ve got their support for four years of college, and if you form a strong relationship, they may be willing to support you even after graduation.
5. Your parents and their friends. There is absolutely no shame in asking your parents to help you network. Talk to them and their friends to see if any companies are hiring. Someone will be able to give you a referral. Even if your parents help you land an internship, it will be your own skills that make you successful at the job.
6. Network with a purpose. Use social media and other networking opportunities to target people who can help get you hired. For example, find people who work at your ideal company on LinkedIn, introduce yourself, and ask to learn more about the company. Don’t ask for an internship right away. Form the relationship and the rest will follow.
7. Ask on Twitter. For a less specific approach, send a shout out on Twitter asking for your followers’ help. For example, your tweet could say: “I really want to intern at @CompanyX. Does anyone know someone who works there? #jobs.” Use creative hashtags specific to your industry to reach people who aren’t following you and tweet at the company to get a direct response.
8. Professional organizations. Professional organizations are great for meeting tons of people in your industry. Don’t stop at just signing up; attend their workshops and networking events to meet other members. Take advantage of these opportunities to learn about possible internship opportunities in your field.
9. Create your own. If a company doesn’t have an internship program, ask them to hire you anyway. Even if they can’t afford an intern, you don’t have to be paid to learn something. Contact someone at the company to say you’re interested in being their intern.
There are plenty of routes you can take to find your next internship — don’t stop after trying just one method. Between niche sites, social media, and your own determination, you will be able to secure a position to give you a plethora of experience. You just have to look a little harder.