When is the perfect time to start looking for an internship? Is it possible to look too soon? How do I promote my resume, even if I don’t have related experience? Is there a place I can go that will help me?
If you have questions about getting an internship, you’re not alone. Because just knowing the information can be a huge stress-relief, we’ve compiled some tips from our experts on all things internship. Read on to have your FAQs answered.
Can I land an internship without prior experience?
“If you aren't able to get an internship, don't forget that there are other ways to still gain experience and develop transferable skills. A part-time job in retail or food & beverage will still help you gain soft skills that you can transfer to other roles so you can always start there. Another good place to look for internships or part-time jobs is on campus. Check with different departments to see if they're hiring, often times, they can be a little more flexible with requirements than a traditional company and it's really convenient to work on-campus.”
- Lina, Hiring Expert at ADP1
I’m an underclassman; can I still get a relevant internship?
“Some companies offer early identification programs or leadership summits for underclassmen. These aren't necessarily an internship experience, but a shortened experience where you can gain exposure to companies earlier on. Typically, companies will host these at their headquarters for a day or up to a week. These can take place at various times throughout the year and will vary by company. You can typically find this information on company websites, your school website or through career fairs or other on-campus recruiting events.”
- Ashley, Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health2
What pathways should I take to find the perfect internship?
“To land an internship, you have a few avenues. First, continue to visit the career center. Second, talk to the professors in your major. They may have relationships. Third, talk to upperclassmen in your major. I actually landed my college internship in my senior year through the student network and that turned into a career. Fourth, try to diversify your use of job boards. Fifth, call companies or organizations that you're interested in directly. That sends a good signal about your eagerness.”
- Eddie, Hiring Expert at Quest Diagnostics3
Is there anything I can do to look from the comfort of my own home?
“Let's talk about networking first. Do you have a LinkedIn page? That is the best way to get started networking. Start with your contacts, then your contact's connections. If you met someone at a job fair or industry event find them on LinkedIn and send them a message. It doesn't have to be long, just something that shows you enjoyed meeting the person and remembered what they said… I would say in general, employers are looking for talent that fits their company culture. A successful candidate knows what they are looking for, if they fit the job description, and about the company. Take your time, do your research and be prepared!”
- Hallice, Hiring Expert at Avery Dennison Corporation4
When is the BEST time to do an internship?
“I don't really think there is a "best" time to start doing internships. Most companies are looking for students who have completed a certain set of courses or a specific number of years of school, so read the internship descriptions carefully. If you meet the minimum qualifications, by all means, apply!”
- Phil, Hiring Expert at Merck & Co., Inc.5
Career fairs… What do I do with them?
“This is a great question. I have a couple of ideas on making a good impression at a career fair or association meeting. Research the companies that will be in attendance (choose 3 or 4 to really focus in on). Check out what cool things are happening either with their company or in their market. Bring these things up in your conversation, ask questions around them; this shows that you've gone the extra mile and that you are someone who is interested in their line of work. Ask them if it's OK for you to connect with them via LinkedIn and when you do, be sure to send them a quick note. Feel free to follow up with them and see if there are any career opportunities that you'd be a fit for.
- Ashlyn, Hiring Expert at Worthington Industries6
You know the information, now the ball is in your court. Do your research, network, attend career fairs, and go #GetThatJob !