Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

The Biggest Mistake in Finding an Internship

Your first step in finding an internship may be going onto Google and searching “(Your major here) internship”. If there is a specific company you want to intern at, then you may search “(company’s name here) internships”. You land on a company’s careers page to find that there is not an internship position that interests you or that there is not a posting for an internship at all. You think to yourself “Gee, I would love to intern for this company” or “It would be an experience of a lifetime to intern here”, then you exit out of the window and continue to look for other internship postings. This is the biggest mistake you could make in your internship search ~ assuming what you find on the internet is all that there is.

Just because you do not see a posting for an internship position, does not mean that it does not exist. Some great companies do not even have a careers page with all available positions listed ~ usually only larger companies have these. What every company does have is an email address you can reach them at. So email them and introduce yourself. Tell them why you like their company and what you can bring to the table and wait for their response. You never know who at the company will read your email and possibly create an internship position for you. A small startup may not even think to have an internship position because of their size. Just showing great interest in the company can lead to so much more. It does not hurt to take five minutes out of your day and reach out to a company.

This is how I found my internship for Skin, an intimates and lounge wear company. Instead of googling “marketing internships”, I went on Barneys.com and looked for lingerie companies that had designs I genuinely liked. I then narrowed the companies down based on whether or not they are based in New York City. I researched the values of the remaining companies and reached out to the ones I felt I would do well at. When I first emailed Skin, they told me that they did not have any internship positions open. But after reviewing my resume, they decided to give me an interview and that eventually lead to a position!

The bottom line is that you should not just search for internship postings online. Find a company you are interested in first and then inquire if they offer internships. A company would be happy to create an internship position for you if they believe that you can help the company and that you will learn from them. So just ask.