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Your Guide to Finding the Right Internship

your guide to finding the right internship

By Ariella Berkowitz

Applying for internships can be one of the most daunting aspects of being a student aiming to get real world experience. However, nowadays, there are several resources available in order to make the process of searching and applying easier and less intimidating.  Use the following tips to simplify the process and confidently work your way towards your next internship.

1.  Visit Your School’s Career Center

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's worth mentioning since many students tend to overlook the obvious. Practically every University has a career center whose primary goal is to help students get hired. Your school’s career center can be a valuable tool for opening new doors to incredible opportunities by connecting you with students, both graduate and undergraduate, as well as professionals who have ample experience in your field of interest. Additionally, career centers can provide assistance in improving your résumé, drafting cover letters, preparing for interviews and all-around career advising. This simple resource is always at your disposal and worth taking advantage of.

2.  Spread the Word

One of the most beneficial ways to achieve your ideal internship is by utilizing the connections and resources available to you in your daily life. I’ve seen first hand how many students have eventually been able to land their dream jobs by simply reaching out to the people within their current network. By spreading the word through family members, friends, parents of friends and even social media, you will be exposed to potential opportunities and may just come across the perfect one. If you are struggling with connecting with your network, consider speaking to professors that specialize in your area of interest as they can shed insight, help provide some direction, and maybe even connect you with possible employers. You never know who may be connected to who so reach out to any and every person in your life who can potentially help. You have nothing to lose by voicing your career goals, especially to those who know and care about you. 

Parker Levine, a recent graduate of Binghamton University with a B.S. in finance, shares how he managed to land his job of C.E.O. right out of college:

“I was on spring break with my girlfriend and we were staying with some of her family. I started talking with her cousin, a brilliant young entrepreneur, and we immediately hit it off. I spent the whole time listening to him about this social media startup app he’s launching called Blast and I decided why not offer some insight? He was impressed with my prior experience in business consulting so we stayed in contact for a couple months and out of nowhere he offered me the opportunity to come on board as his C.E.O. I was shocked. Your personal network is way deeper than you think. You don’t know what’s out there for you unless you connect, connect, connect. Friends. Family. Professors. Past bosses. Really anyone can be of value.” 

3.  Polish and Circulate Your Résumé

Employers tend to favor résumé’s that are cleanly organized, clear and tell a consistent story. Edit and proofread your résumé carefully to ensure it has a powerful focal point. Remove any extraneous details that can clutter the page and present your information concisely in a straightforward organized manner. Additionally, you should use language that is oriented around action and accomplishment instead of job-description. Opt for verbs that are strong and specific over terms like “to do” or “to be.” Be sure to tailor each résumé and cover letter to the position and company you are applying to; they should reflect the essential qualifications needed for that position. 

It is also important to remember that you lose nothing by sending your résumé to as many places as possible. As a student looking for an internship, there is fierce competition and you need to keep an open mind by applying to places that may be outside of your comfort zone. Not only will your chances of getting hired be much higher but, in the long run, any kind of work experience will benefit you as well as your résumé.  

4.  utilize Job Boards

In this day and age, successfully landing an internship usually comes from someone you know. The more you spread the word to your network about what you’re seeking the easier it is to eventually connect with the right person. In spite of this, job boards are a great way to see what kind of entry-level jobs are in-demand and what type of job descriptions are being used to promote them. Use these websites as a tool in crafting your résumé with the right language as well as to keep you up-to-date on the types of positions employers are looking for. Of course, you can also apply to these positions through the websites, but remember the number one way that most people get hired or snag an interview is through someone they know or directly reached out to. Here are a few popular job boards: 

  • Way-Up: An excellent resource for college students and recent graduates. Its modern lay-out makes it easy to browse and save job postings. Yet, perhaps the best feature about Way-Up is how easy it is to apply for each job. Instead of a cover letter, each posting shows a maximum of three questions formulated by the employer. You answer them, submit your resume and you’re done! 
  • A user-friendly site recommended for college students. Simply enter your preferred city and major to find a long list of local opportunities. You can upload your resume and apply to jobs promptly through the site or click the provided links to apply directly through company websites.
  • A search engine that caters specifically to jobs all across the media. Use the filter option to find local opportunities in the field that best suits your interests. 
  • A beneficial source for students to find entry-level job listings tailored around various majors and interests. 
  • The simplest and most straightforward of job-hunting websites. All you need to do is fill in two categories: what and where.
  • The ultimate tool for acquiring internships abroad. You can filter your search options to find internship programs offered all around the country as well as across the globe. 
  • If you are looking to intern or volunteer for a nonprofit this is the perfect tool for you. This site can assist you in finding an ideal position that caters to your interests while allowing you to work in an environment focused on giving back to the community. 

From crafting the perfect résumé to connecting with the right person to actually getting hired, acquiring the right internship can be an intricate process. Implementing these steps can help to simplify the process. Most of us aren’t lucky enough to have great opportunities just fall into our laps, which is why it’s so important to know how to seek them out for yourself.

Do you have more tips/tricks/stories to share? Find me on twitter at  and while you’re there, check out @cencom and more opportunities on their Facebook page.