The more time and effort one puts into a search, the greater the chance of attaining a wonderful internship. A good search can be done just using online resources. A better one is informed by knowledgeable people, including those in the Internship Program office, faculty and staff, alumni, friends, and family. You would be wise to use all these resources to make sure you are doing everything you can to find an internship that is well suited to you and your situation.
Don't be scammed! Although we do our best to verify the opportunities listed in Handshake, we cannot guarantee the authenticity or legitimacy of the posted positions. Beware of any position that asks you to provide bank account or credit card information, pay money to apply, or involves receiving and sending checks or money. These are possibly scams and should be reported to the Career Development Center. Read more about common job-posting scams.
Explore both general and field-specific databases.
Primarily national and international programs that provide great internship placements and support, but most require a fee, tuition, and/or significant expenses for travel.
Many students find great internships by contacting an organization instead of looking for a posting. These are lists of local organizations sorted by field. (i.e. Environment, Legal, Public Health, Arts, etc.). Great resource!
Collections of past internships held by Macalester students, organized by academic department. Good for brainstorming options you may wish to consider yourself. Check out what you can do with your major and LACN's spotlight on careers for more brainstorming ideas.
Visit the Internship Program Office
- Do a keyword search for internship positions and/or organizations/companies you are interested in. Enter search criteria such as “Internship, healthcare, Minnesota” and see if you find specific internship programs and positions.
- Don’t just look for postings. Also search for organizations engaged in work you want to do by reading blogs, articles, websites, etc. ID interesting organizations and contact them to see if you can contribute to their cause through an internship.
- Go to an organization’s human resources/jobs/personnel area to look for postings they have, or to ID someone to contact to explore internship possibilities.
- Don’t be afraid of Twitter, the social media website is becoming more popular with businesses and organizations posting internships.
- Watch out for scams or organizations just looking for free labor or access to you and your information.
- Do not pay someone to help you find an internship - there is absolutely no need to do this.
- Talk to faculty and your academic department. They keep in touch with alumni and likely know many of the significant players/organizations in their field.
- Contact Mac alumni in your discipline, in the company, or even the geographic area you want to be in. These folks can be invaluable for help reviewing resumes, doing informational interviews, or making connections. Contact the Macalester Career Development Center for help in finding alumni.
- Linked-in. Create a profile on this professional version of Facebook, for it is a fabulous way to share your professional story and make connections
- Get Involved with community and professional organizations, attend seminars and conferences and talk to the people you meet about your plans.
- Read and research topics you are interested in. Note the organizations and people who are involved. and contact them.
- Talk with friends and classmates, especially those who have previously done internships. A referral/recommendation by them can be very helpful.
- Reach out to your family and family friends. Don’t be shy. They likely have great contacts who will be eager to help a motivated young college student get ahead!
- Use this spread sheet to help keep track of your internships throughout the process
- Start early and be patient. Sometimes getting a good internship requires you to develop a relationship with the organization over time.
- Work on several options at a time. It is much better to have to turn down offers than having to start over if you are rejected by the only organization you applied to.
- Keep track of your applications and your status in each of these. Some people set up a spreadsheet to make sure they know where they are at with the application process for each position (site, position, deadlines, contact info, dates of contact, status, etc.).
- When you land an internship, contact the other organizations you applied to and respectfully let them know. Give them as much time as you can so they may continue their search.
- When applying to an organization that has not posted a specific internship, focus your inquiry on projects you might do to help the organization instead of asking about an internship position. This indirect approach helps bypass a concern that hosting an intern would be an energy drain and instead helps them envision how you could really contribute. This is particularly helpful in your search for January internships (short, intense, great for project oriented work)
- Follow the organization’s stated application process, sending your material to the identified party. However, if you happen to have another contact in the organization, see if they would be willing to internally speak on your behalf to those doing the hiring.
- Be prepared to send your updated resume. Scanning this one page document is an easy way for the organization to quickly “size you up”.
- Follow up your application with a note expressing interest, offering to send any additional info they might desire. This demonstrates interest and keeps the line of communication open. This is usually best done as an email.
- Be clear about what you need and the deadlines you are operating under.
- Be assertive, consistent, and clear without going too far and becoming obnoxious. It is perfectly okay to ask them for clear target dates for getting back to you with various steps in the process
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