This article aims to break it all down into the simplest terms possible and speak directly to where to look for internships and how to lock one down.
Where are all the internships and co-ops hiding?
The key is to start looking early – as in, take time to thank Santa for your Christmas gifts and then get on the hunt. Did you know most large employers post their summer internships and co-op roles in January? If you wait much longer it will be too late.
Find summer internships and co-ops online
Attend summer job fairs
Most colleges and universities hold summer job fairs in late January. These job fairs give you the chance to meet prospective employers and, occasionally, interview right on the spot.
Furthermore, you will be subjected to tons of companies and positions that you didn’t even know existed. Make sure you are well dressed, well spoken and prepared to answer – and ask – some questions!
Visit your career centre
I was a heavy user of the career centre in university and this definitely worked to my advantage. For one thing, utilizing their resources to find a part-time job actually ended up landing me a student job at the centre because they knew who I was and wanted to help me out.
Career centres not only have job listings, they often have connections with other employers (and, at the very least, are an amazing source of information for any questions you might have regarding schooling and your career).
Network with your network
Let people know you are looking for an internship (professors often have a lot of insight and tips for success in this realm – and if you put in the effort, they’re most likely going to be very eager to help you). Similar to my career centre tale of success, it’s all about getting your face out there and seeking assistance from others.
Another great thing about internships is they can often lead to jobs. Guy Adam, Branch Manager at Robert Half in Laval, Quebec, offered the following advice for how to turn your internship into something permanent:
Don’t be shy
As Guy puts it, “Competition can be fierce in this economy. Showing some confidence, while still acting professionally, can work in your favour.” Therefore, don’t be conniving, but go after what you want.
Put on the polish
Dress well and appropriately for the work environment. Ensure your work and application (if attempting to bridge into a new position within the company) are completely error-free.
Pull a Kelly Clarkson and show your Miss (Mr.) Independent side
In order to maximize productivity, companies are looking for people who don’t need constant direction. “Many firms are stretched thin right now, so demonstrating an ability to work without a lot of direct supervision can be a plus,” Guy says.
Exhibit a can-do attitude
Be proactive in how you can be of use to the company. “Inquire about the firm’s greatest challenges and needs and then propose how your skills and experience can help,” he advises.
What are you doing to nab an internship now? Share your tips in the comments below!
Photo credit: City of Marietta, GA on Flickr