College students across the country are currently gearing up to start internships that they’ve spent months preparing for. But what about the students who don’t have an internship or any other solid summer plans lined up yet? Don’t worry, it’s not too late to find an interesting, career building opportunity.
Because these internships may not be widely advertised, interested students may have to do a little detective work to discover them.Internships.com’s Chief Marketing Officer Yair Riemer shares some tips on how to line up an internship that’s right for you.
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Think about smaller, more specialized places
Students looking for a last minute internship should make it a point to target smaller to medium sized organizations. “The big brand names have selected their interns in March and April, but smaller places may need people now,” he says. “I would definitely be on the lookout.”
“I think there are two important things that students looking for internships right now should keep in mind,” he continues. “The first is that employers are posting openings year round. While students applying for internships may think it’s too late because it’s already the end of the semester, employers don’t think like that.”
According to Riemer, Internships.com currently features over 75,000 employers and features an option that allows students to set up alerts that target their specific interests.
Network beyond your immediate circle
“We often think of our friends and family as our networks, but networking in unexpected places is also important,” says Riemer. “What about your high school? Do any alums work at companies that need interns?” Taking time to visit any organizations you volunteered with during both high school and college may also turn up some leads.
Reach out to alums of your college
Many alums are eager to help out the next generation, but it is very important to approach them in the right way. “Don’t approach asking for a job,” warns Riemer. “The request should be about the alum’s expertise. It’s much better to say something like, ‘I noticed you are a vice president at a tech company, I’m a computer science major and I’d like to hear more about what you do.’"
He adds, “You’d be shocked at how many people are willing to take 30 minutes out of their day to have coffee with a young person interested in their work.”
Do your research
Once you get an interview, make sure that you are prepared and have good background knowledge of what the company does and the latest projects it is involved in. “Come prepared. As a hiring manager, I can say that it looks extremely professional when we see that someone took that extra 15 minutes to learn about the company," says Riemer. "You’d be shocked to see how many people come in to internship interviews and when they are asked, ‘Are you familiar with what we do?’ they say something like, ‘No, not really.’"
Take some time to develop your skills
While you are searching for your internship, it’s a good idea to also take some time to develop some skills that would boost your résumé. There are many online and offline classes available for software that’s widely used in many offices and professions and then there are also more off-beat options like Hootsuite’s certification in social media, Riemer points out. Prices can range from free or inexpensive to more pricey options.“Taking a course is a great way to differentiate yourself from other candidates,” he says. “You can show employers that you’re not just ready to learn, but that you are ready to contribute.”
Follow Lakshmi Gandhi on Twitter @LakshmiGandhi.