7 Great Places to Find an Internship

When I sought my first internship, I was lucky to be studying in a busy college city. On top of that, the school I attended held a ton of informative workshops on networking, how to create a resume, and how to appear more confident during an interview. Aside from those valuable experiences, students were provided with an internship fair where companies came to recruit future interns. I know that not everyone has access to all of the opportunities I was given, so I’ve done some research, and I’ve discovered the top seven places to find an internship. Many of them are relevant regardless of where you go to school. Buckle up!

Here are seven super secret spots where you can uncover an internship:

1. Internship/Job Fair

These are straight forward. You know going in that professionals are waiting to find the right candidate to fill a position. Expect to shake a lot of hands, take a lot of business cards, and leave a bunch of resumes. Try to obtain a list of who’s in attendance before the event. This will help you to anticipate which companies you want to visit, and it can even help you to determine a timeline for how long to stay at each table.

2. Network Connection

You never really know who you know, do you? Don’t think too hard about that one. It could lead to a severe case of paranoia. The jist of what I meant is that for everyone you come in contact with and make a connection with, there could be countless opportunities they introduce you to. If you want an internship in a specific field, send your contacts a personal email letting them know. This will leave the door wide open for opportunities to come your way.

3. Company Website

This one can be a freebie many people miss out on. Frequently, company websites include a tab about job openings or other career opportunities, including internships, right on their homepage. Sure, these sometimes take time to find, but once you do, you could be one step closer to solidifying an unbeatable opportunity.

4. The Internet

Kids these days! With their computers and fancy phones… Let’s all take a moment to celebrate the fact that we live in the technology era. Thank goodness for Google, Bing, Craigslist, Internship.com and other career specific sites. With a computer, you are only a few clicks away from gaining the information you need to get hired. Most of my career research begins with an idea and quickly escalates to an internet search for more information.

5. Your College

Have you ever noticed those busy-looking billboards on your way from one class to the next? If not, you should start now. Oftentimes, recruiters scout out college campuses to advertise about jobs and internships. They know that a ton of passersby will see their listing and follow up with them about a potential opportunity. Aside from billboards, check with professors, friends, and your college career center to get the most up-to-date information about internships.

6. Informational Interview

If you’re curious by nature, then these kinds of interviews are perfect for you. Not only can you relax—because there’s no specific job you’re desperately after—but you can ask any questions you have and learn a great deal about how things work at a company. Informational interviews are perfect for finding out about internships, creating network connections, and gathering contact information for other professionals you may be interested in working with.

7. Current Internship

In a way, one hand washes another. If you already have an internship, then you can use your foot in the door to network with other people in the company. As long as you’re doing a good job at your current gig, you should have no trouble getting a good word put in to change departments or tasks for your next internship.

Now that you know where to look, here are some reasons to just go for it! If you want to be successful someday, then you have to get your name out there and learn the necessary skills you need to advance professionally. Not everyone is a go-getter, so stand apart from the crowd by taking initiative.

For more posts by Sara Kosmyna.

Where did you find your favorite internship? Can you think of any other places one might find one? Don’t be afraid to share how much you know, below.

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12 Comments

  1. Joe
    Posted May 28, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    I am not a fan of the concept of intenships.
    What is the message? Come work for me and I will pay you nothing but you will get experience. The experience is no pay and that is a bad example. A better plan would be to say hire me because I bring fresh eyes, energy, common sense and I work for compensation. We will make a great partnership because we both will benefit.
    Joe

  2. Mary
    Posted May 29, 2011 at 1:04 am | Permalink

    In this day and age companies are not hiring as much if at all. The idea of getting a foot in the door and gaining experience while you’re in school seems like a good idea. Once you have experience you will be better qualified for a position in your desired field. This gives you an edge.

  3. Meg
    Posted May 29, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Great post and very informative! I found my first internship through a fair. It was my first time in that sort of situation, passing out my resumes and talking to professionals but everyone was so nice and understanding, even when I knocked the books on the table over! My second internship I found through a professor I had a my college who happened to be in the very field I wanted to work in. She already knew me and had seen what I am like in class so she was more than happy to set up an interview with the rest of her department. All in all I learned a lot about the business and it was a good experience!

  4. Posted May 29, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Sara, you raise some good points that I would like to expand upon. As far as internship/job fairs go, candidates need to make sure they are dressed professionally from head to toe and present themselves in a confident, but not cocky manner. Next, networking is huge. I recommend to all my friends that they make a LinkedIn page and regularly update their status on it and also use it to expand their professional networks. Additionally, I agree that the internet, including company websites, is a great resource to have when searching for a job and/or internship. I’ve gotten great jobs off of sites such as Craigslist, Monster, and most recently, YouTern. As far as interviews go, I believe that candidates should consider all of them to be informational. You are there to see if the company is right for you. Do not go in with the attitude that your life is going to be over if you don’t obtain the position. More often than not, this won’t work out very well. Lastly, I agree that once you have your foot in the door with a company, as long as you are doing quality work, you stand a much better chance of accomplishing great things.

    Matthew Forrest
    Social Media Marketing Intern
    YouTern

  5. Posted May 29, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    This is in response to Joe. Joe, I just wanted to let you know that I respectfully disagree with you. I am currently interning with YouTern.com as a Social Media Marketing Intern and my eyes have been opened to a wide variety of things. I haven’t been with them long, but I have been amazed with what I have learned. I don’t think that you can really take pay into consideration when deciding whether or not to intern because experience is a great thing to have.

    Matthew Forrest
    Social Media Marketing Intern
    YouTern

  6. Posted May 29, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I’m really impressed with the dialogue this post has started.

    Joe, I think you bring up a valid point that a lot of people are concerned with. I do want to point out that not all internships are unpaid. There are companies that allow interns a stipend for travel expenses and others that pay an hourly rate. Thank you for addressing this topic.

    Mary, you noted an important fact. The economy has caused a lot of companies to downsize. Interning can be a great way to get free experience and more credibility behind your name.

    Meg, I’m happy you found great opportunities through some of the places mentioned. Internship fairs can be a little intimidating at first, but once you introduce yourself to a few people, it gets easier. Professors are also a great way to network into a field of interest. Glad you gained from both experiences!

    Matthew, what a thorough follow-up to this post! I definitely agree that interviews should be used to guage not only how you stack up against the competition but certainly whether or not a company is right for YOU. I’m happy to hear that you’re taking something valuable away from your experience.

    Has anyone ever been hired after an internship? I’d love to hear your story.

    Keep the comments coming!

  7. Kelly
    Posted May 29, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    I thought many of these tips were really helpful for finding an internship. I got my first internship through a fair (and because I knew someone who was already interning there who was kind enough to say good things about me) but paid or not internships are experience. I didn’t get paid for my first one, but I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything because one day it may help me get those paid internships (of which there are some) and future jobs-perhaps more importantly.

    I do have one tip as well and that is to reach out to your professors, especially if they work in the field you want to be in. I got an interview at a big publishing house because my professor put in a good word for me, this in itself is a big deal, really anything is if you can get your foot in the door. Great advice Sara, I know from experience it works!

  8. Joe
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 1:40 am | Permalink

    To Matthew.
    I am glad you considered my message and it is fine that you disagree. That is what makes an interesting world. As long as you are willing to work for experience and no pay someone is getting a better deal from the situation. What is the next step? Maybe pay someone a fee for a job that only pays the worker with experience? This is why we have a minimum wage. The company should at least pay that to make it a better “experience”.

  9. Joseph
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Although none of this information is new, the task is more about going out there and doing them right. I’m currently looking for an internship in China with a global freight forwarder. I currently have 10 years experience within transport and warehousing so for me pay is important, for three reasons;

    Firstly, I have experince that the employer will not likely get from even a graduate let alone a student and this comes at a price.

    They are also securing a future employee or reducing significantly the expendiature of going through the recruitment process and choosing possibly the wrong person for the job. And they get to mould me before enter the company properly.

    What they are prepared to pay says a significant amount about the employer, such as staff loyalty and as I have learnt in the past; if you pay peanuts you get monkeys.

    Employers impress the strength of their name onto undergraduates but fail to see these people are their future, it’s a two street. That said, if their was no real opening to do a job but they were prepared to make some thing available with a little guidance or oversight I would be happy to do an afternoon a week for free to get my foot in the door. In all it depends what you are looking for and what you hope to get out of it. In my case a 12 month placement and a little less debt than before I started out.

  10. Joe
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Sarareena,
    I have an internship opportunity for someone to acquire the fine craft of internal and external automobile decrudification. For a nominal fee I will provide the opportunity.
    This is hands on, wring the sponge, pump the elbow grease, wipe the water then bow in gratitude for the experience. I get a cleaned car and someone learns how to clean a car.
    Only kidding of course. I understand it is hard to get a start with a career and sometimes you have to make tough decisions to get something happening. Just be cautious and don’t let others take advantage. There ar predators out there who offer hopes and dreams by talking like they know some special secrets. It is mostly baloney in my humble opinion. Good luck catching dreams. It takes time and hard work.
    Joe

  11. Posted June 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for your wonderful article, its been a great learning through it, especially digging out for information, making a list of it and jotting a timeline is something I never put into practice, would be really good to do so. Apart from that currently I’m in an internship and trying to improve my connections…any suggestions on how to do that part ?

  12. Posted October 16, 2011 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    I\’m a fan of internships, but I\’ve only seen 1 intern in our company in over 20 years. I\’m in Real Estate sales, so there\’s no income for the intern. Just the same, I think our industry – and the intern – would benefit from having a chance to see what the career is like before they commit thousands of dollars and years of their time to see if it\’s a good fit for them. I\’m going to bring this up with out licensing body in Ontario.

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