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Career

How to Find the Perfect Internship

Finding an internship is sort of like learning to ride a bike, except the bike has no wheels and you’re sinking in quicksand and—oh, great, is that a hungry dragon looming overhead? In layman’s terms, it’s stressful. Take it from me, someone who spent the better part of her junior year seeking out internships, applying, interviewing and just dreading the million dollar question, “What are you doing this summer?”

But finding an internship doesn’t have to be as difficult as escaping a dragon on a wheel-less bike while sinking in quicksand. It can be challenging in its own right, but putting in more effort means finding a greater reward.

Sign up for Handshake

Handshake is a program utilized by Elizabethtown College’s career services. It’s a nice mix of LinkedIn and Google, allowing students to build a profile, upload a resume and search for all types of summer work. Members can categorize the multitude of options by part-time versus full-time, paid versus unpaid or location. It’s a handy way to look through opportunities that have been verified for legitimacy. Handshake is also constantly being updated, so if you check back every week, you’re bound to find new internships!

An app version of Handshake is also available, allowing you to receive notifications about application statuses or new opportunities relevant to your interests.

Visit Career Services

Personally, I would have been at a complete loss if not for the helpful Career Services employees. Career Services is the perfect place to go if you’re unsure about any aspect of the internship search process. In a one-hour appointment I had, they helped me develop the perfect resume and cover letter template, and I even came out of the meeting with a free padfolio and a huge stack of papers listing internships from Handshake. Even if you’re confident in your resume and cover letter abilities, it’s nice to get a fresh pair of eyes on them. And hey, a little help with navigating Handshake can go a long way if it lands you that perfect internship.

Check on LinkedIn

By the time you’re in college, you should definitely consider starting a LinkedIn profile. Even if you’re averse to the idea of social media, LinkedIn is an invaluable resource. This site is the business casual of social media, allowing you to introduce yourself and your goals professionally. On LinkedIn, you can upload a resume and documents, connect with coworkers and, of course, search for employment. Premium members do get added bonuses, but being a free member still has its perks. You can sign up for email notifications relevant to job opportunities in certain fields, and the search function itself is similar to that of Handshake. If you’re not on LinkedIn, you should definitely… link in. See what I did there?

Use a Search Engine

When all else fails, a simple Google search can be fruitful. It’s important to be careful of what sites you go on and where you apply, but typically if you’re on a website like Glassdoor or Indeed, you’re in good hands. Google can even develop a list of relevant opportunities; if you search for “Elizabethtown engineering internship,” you’ll get plenty of options to choose from.

Alternatively, you can use a search engine to look up types of companies. For example, communications majors could look up “public relations firms in Philadelphia” and comb through company websites to look for internship tabs. Often, applying directly instead of through a third-party site is the best option, and it allows you to see more of the company culture.

Email a company

Jane has her heart set on spending a summer with Cat Stuff Inc., but the company website doesn’t list internship opportunities. Should Jane give up on her dream? Nope! If you want to work somewhere that doesn’t explicitly advertise internships, find contact information for the company or its human resources department and shoot a quick email. In the email, explain who you are and express your interest in working with them as an intern. They may well ask you for a resume and cover letter. It’s like those posters in our middle school classrooms used to say: “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.”

Rebecca Easton

Elizabethtown '19

Rebecca Easton is a senior at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. She is currently studying English with a concentration in professional writing, and is pursuing a double minor in communications and business administration. Her primary interests in these fields include social media marketing, web writing and creative writing. She currently works for the Elizabethtown College Center for Student Success as a writing tutor, for Admissions as a tour guide and for the Office of Marketing and Communications. In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys writing, singing, and reading.
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