There is no sugar coating it: getting the right internship is just as important as going to college at this point. While it can be stressful, it is more than possible to score yourself an internship.
A year ago, being a girl from small-town Indiana, I would have told you finding an internship in an industry almost foreign to my state would be impossible. Now, I've been to New York City for one and am on my way back this summer for not one, but two more internships. Here's some pro advice on doing what you think can't be done from someone who's been there.
1.Attend every career fair.
I know so many people who have gotten amazing internships from career fairs. While they can sometimes seem like a hassle, they are so worth it if you're serious about your future. Prepare a resume and research information on the companies you want to hit while you're there.
They'll be impressed that you know your shit; and if they feel like they're important to you, you'll become more important to them. While seeing a list of big companies can be intimidating and the "why would they want someone like me" mentality is an easy one to pick up on, there is a reason they're coming to your school: They're looking for people like you.
2. Figure out where alumni work.
This can be really helpful simply because people like to hire other people from their alma mater. While, of course, you have to have the credentials, school pride holds a lot of weight in the job market. Universities often have a list of alumni at big companies somewhere on their website, but if you don't find what you're looking for there, use the LinkedIn search options or visit your career center.
3. Search company websites.
Scroll to the bottom of the page and companies will typically have a career section. This is a good place to find out if the company is hiring interns or at least a good place to find an email and a name to contact with inquiries.
4. Find exact names and emails.
While this can sometime be extremely difficult, finding a way to contact a real person (not just firstname.lastname@example.org) is extremely helpful and important. A lot of times these won't be right on the careers page, but there are ways to find who you're looking for. Sometimes it takes serious investigation of the company's website; and sometimes it takes a little cyber-stalking.
I've gotten emails from searching names of people I know who work there and the name of the company. Sometimes they have their email out on other social and professional platforms. This works especially well for magazine internships. Search the internet and try to find the email format of the company you want to apply for, ie. email@example.com. The next step is as simple as finding the names of people in the department you want to work for (in a magazine check out the masthead towards the front) plug the name into the email format, and send away.
Search the internet and try to find the email format of the company you want to apply for, ie. firstname.lastname@example.org. Next step is as simple as finding the names of people in the department you want to work for (in a magazine check out the masthead towards the front) plug the name into the email format and send away.
5. Find websites that post internships.
While I can't tell you specific sites for all industries, for those of you looking for fashion or editorial internships, check out freefashioninternships.com (where I scored my first internship). These kinds of websites post who's looking for what kind of intern, as well as either information to send your resume to or an application right there you can fill out.
6. Ask around.
You'd be surprised how many potential connections are around you. Maybe one of your dad's coworkers knows someone, or maybe a friend of a family friend works for the company where you're trying to intern. Spread the word and see what happens.
7. Talk to professors.
A lot of professors actually worked in the industry their classes center on. Their prior field experience can help you a lot. Make a point to become friends with your professors and attend their office hours. Eventually, you may find yourself in a position to ask if they could help you out a little on your internship hunt. Most likely, they'll be more than happy to do it.
8. Get involved.
This is a great way to meet people with similar interests, who then may have helpful connections. Whether it's writing for a website like FlockU or joining an on campus club. Even people your own age may have connections they're willing to share.