How to Find Your Perfect Internship
Be picky and be satisfied
I started looking for internships in February but with my almost unrealistic expectations and very real schedule and financial limitations it was a miserable process. I had reached out to CCD, edited my resume countless times, and searched all internship listings on countless websites with little luck.
To be fair I was looking for an unconventional internship in an industry that is still fairly young. I spent my last two summers interning for a fairly large company whose product and mission did not captivate me. This summer I was determined to finally pair my business schooling with my passion for sustainable agriculture. If you are looking for a less conventional internship I have some advice that helped me find my perfect internship.
1. Know what you are looking for.
I wanted my internship to fulfill an impossibly long list of requirements. Finally after realizing that comprises would have to be made I narrowed down the list. You should be picky about what type of experience you are looking for, but at the same time know that you probably will not find an internship that covers everything. It is also important to consider what you want as your end result of the internship. For some students it may be a job offer, for me it was getting experience in the field of my interest. With that in mind, tailor your resume to the type of internship you hope to get. I visited CCD at least four times to edit my resumes and cover letters.
2. Start your search early.
Even though I started looking for internships in February I didn’t have an official offer until May. Don’t wait till April to start your search. Keep in mind that this whole process takes time. You will not be the only one applying and reaching out is only the first step. After applying you will still have to budget time for interviews. If you are unsure about the interview process, whether it’s a phone or face-to-face interview, CCD is there to help you prepare!
3. Be proactive.
Many of the companies I was interested in did not list any internship opportunities, but I did not want to pass up any opportunities so I reached out anyway. After scanning many websites I was at a loss. I decided I was too impatient to wait around for responses and other job listings. I turned to social media for some suggestions and began emailing companies about summer internship opportunities. In the end, I accepted an offer from one of the companies I had reached out to. Be sure to mention why you felt the need to ask about a position that they are not necessarily looking to fill; treat this email as a cover letter to some extent. Since the company is not specifically looking for an intern give them a reason to want to make you a member of the team. Also don’t forget to include your resume and cover letter in the initial email; it will save time and show the employer that you are prepared for the job.
4. Look for other opportunities.
One of my main limiting factors when searching for my perfect internship was my budget: it was very small. I began to give up on internships that were not in or near my hometown simply because I did not think I would be able to cover living expenses, especially since most of the internships I applied for were unpaid. After talking to friends I realized that I should also be looking for scholarships that would help me take on my dream internship. You should always check with CCD if they know of any options.
The whole process can be frustrating but if you are proactive and make this experience your own, you will find the internship that will satisfy your requirements.