How Soon (and Where) to Look for Internships

Allison writes:
My professors keep telling me I need to get at least one internship before I graduate and I am
thinking of trying to get one for next summer. I was planning on waiting to look for internships
until spring break but one of my friends told me that I should start looking like sooner.
Also what are the best sources for internships?


The Career Doctor responds:
All college students should complete at least one internship and ideally several
while you attend school. I actually encourage my first-year students to consider an
internship after their first year of college (even though the most sought-after internships
usually require junior or senior standing).
Internships give you valuable work experience help you learn more about your intended
career and can help you decide on a specific career path. Internships also help you
expand your network of contacts and in some cases can make you drastically rethink
your career focus if you have a really bad experience.
Your email comes at a good time because I would actually start looking for internships
NOW. Hot internships (with companies like Nike) have very early deadlines because they
receive so many applications for so few internship slots. Start now but keep working on it
over the next few months and try for at least a couple of internship offers so that you can
choose the one that best fits your needs.
Here are my top sources for uncovering internship leads:

  1. Company Websites – look in their career/jobs area.
  2. Career Services – check with your college’s career center for leads.
  3. Professors – many professors are connected with companies and alums offering internships.
  4. Career Network – ask all the people in your network of contacts about internship possibilities (and additional contacts)
  5. Internship Websites – there are a few top internship Websites that offer great leads for internships.

Here are three tools for you to consider using as you move forward with your internship
search – and then when you actually intern:

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