Summer internships are the most highly sought after opportunities by college students and recent graduates. Because students often don’t have any school commitments during the summer, it leaves plenty of time for additional opportunities, and internships are the perfect way to gain experience in their field.
If you have waited this long to apply for an internship, you might be worried that all of the available opportunities are already filled. Good news: there are always openings out there. You just need to know where to look…
Follow companies and hiring managers on social media sites. It’s not unusual for an intern candidate to commit to one company, only to find a better opportunity elsewhere and decline the position. On top of that, sometimes other things get in the way – such as family emergencies, relocation problems, and money issues – that deter another student participating in the program. If you’re following companies and hiring managers, you can be one of the first to know about a recent opening in their internship program, and apply right away to be considered for the position.
Regularly check internship-focused job sites. While some employers start finding interns and filling positions early on in the semester, others don’t. Try not to become discouraged if some intern programs are filled and remember that not every employer runs on the same schedule. Other opportunities are likely still available through internship job sites if you start looking now.
Ask the campus career center and your department head about opportunities. Many companies rely on the people on your college campus to help them fill internship openings. See if the campus career center has a list of internship opportunities available in your field. Ask professors and the department head of your school about any opportunities you could still apply for. They might have unadvertised openings sitting on their desk, waiting for the right person to inquire about a specific internship program.
Propose your own internship. If you’d love to intern at a local startup or small business, but they don’t have a program in place, ask them to consider creating a position for you. Get in touch with the hiring manager or HR department and set up a meeting (or, if it’s a very small organization, perhaps the founder or president). Come to the meeting with a specific idea of what part of the company you’d like to intern for and why. Think about reasons they may be hesitant—do they have little funding? Not enough office space for you to have a workstation? And consider how you might solve that specific problem—for example, propose you’ll receive college credit instead of compensation, or you can work virtually to avoid workspace problems.
Internship opportunities can be extremely valuable to your career. They give you an opportunity to learn new skills, use classroom knowledge and meet new people. Don’t give up hope on landing an internship just because it seems like it’s too late.
What other ways can students and recent grads find summer internships at the last minute?