If you’ve exhausted yourself networking and scouring over the Internet, and still haven’t found the internship that you’re looking for, you may not know where else to turn. But there are quite a few alternative sources for finding internships.
The internship generation often discounts the power of the daily print newspaper, but this used to be the ultimate source for jobs, apartments, and even cars. Today the newspaper still may have opportunities that are not on the internet, and actually being able to hold the description in your hands, and circle those with high potential with a red pen might give you a break from staring at the computer screen all day. Make sure that you pick up the local and regional newspapers, as their classified ads will likely differ. Internships are usually designated as such in their titles, but it doesn’t hurt to scroll through all of the job offerings in your target industry to see if the word "intern" was snuck in somewhere. There are also certain "part time" or "hourly" entry-level positions that might fill an internship requirement.
Job and career fairs are some of the best places for networking and job hunting. Imagine a room filled with tables and people anxious to tell you all about how much their company wants you!
While this can be a great opportunity to gather information and shake hands, it can also be overwhelming. Many first-time job or internship hunters may not know exactly how to attend a career fair, or how to get the most out of a career fair; what it really takes is a little bit of planning. You should always wear business attire at a corporate job fair, while many non-profit job fairs lean more toward business casual (see Dress Code and Etiquette section of this site for more information about business casual). Most career fairs offer information before the fair itself about which companies and organizations will be represented at the fair, so make sure that you scan through and make notes of which people you’ll definitely want to see. Bring that original list with you the day of the fair and compare it to the map of tables.
You should also bring a copy of your resume to the job fair to hand to potential employers.
Find your target companies and make a mental note of where they are in relation to each other. At very popular job fairs, the recruiters and representatives might have more visitors than they can handle at one time. Don’t be discouraged if you have to make a few passes past a table before you speak with someone; this might give you more time to stumble upon an internship program that you hadn’t other wise thought of!
An important part of the career process is follow-up. When you are speaking with a recruiter, may sure you ask for a business card. If they do not have one, write their direct email address on a brochure. Once you walk away and take some time to sort through your information and make specific notes about what you talked about with each recruiter.
Once you are home, write a thank you email to each one, being sure to mention a specific talking point from your conversation to help remind them of who you are.
Don’t be offended if they aren’t as personal in their response; they likely met hundreds of prospective interns in one day, and keeping them all straight can be a challenge.
However, if you make the effort to thank them and maintain communication, they will surely remember your name as they review internship applications.
Volunteer programs are an often untapped resource for those looking for an internship, particularly for credit. While it’s very uncommon for any paid internships to be offered, many programs will develop a part time volunteer opportunity for an intern to meet their academic requirements or career goals. .org offers a great directory of volunteer opportunities, and is an excellent place to start your search. You can also search the newspaper and craigslist.com for calls for volunteers.
An often overlooked resource for internships, jobs and other networking opportunities is your high school or university alumni program. Larger schools may have an entire office devoted to alumni relations, while other places might have one staff person or volunteer involved in coordination.
At the very least, alumni programs keep a list of up-to-date information about alumni going back for many years. You can either request the directory (which may come with paying alumni dues to the school) or simply ask the coordinator if he or she knows of anyone in your particular field. In many cases, alumni still hold strong ties to certain schools and would be willing to put in a good word for a fellow alumnus.
There are infinite possibilities when looking for an internship. Virtually everywhere that hires employees is a potential internship placement. Persistence, professionalism and enthusiasm are the keys to finding the right internship, regardless of the method you use.