Finding an internship involves the same steps as any other employment search. In fact, internship-hunting is a great way to develop and practice skills that you will use throughout your career.
The one distinction that sets an internship search apart from other employment searches is that the primary goal of a successful internship is intended to be a learning experience, designed to broaden awareness of a career field and specific jobs within that field. This means that it is important that a student work with their Faculty Sponsor and the Office of Career Services to help determine the specific learning objectives and desired skills development that are likely to result from a particular internship experience.
As with any job search, whether it is for a part-time job, a summer job, or for a post-graduate position, there are three basic strategies to engage in during an internship search:
- Identify resources where internship openings are listed, with details about the responsibilities of the work involved, the desired skills and background of a successful candidate, and the process for applying for the position.
- Identify organizations that are engaged in the type of work you would like to be doing, even if you are uncertain as to whether they use interns, and approach them directly with your qualifications and the type of learning experience you are hoping to find.
- Utilize your network of faculty, friends, relatives and their business associates and ask them for guidance and resources that will lead to the type of internship experience you are hoping to find. Colby alumni are an excellent resource to add to your network (see “Alumni Directory” below).
The Office of Career Services’ web site has a variety of on-line resources that relate directly to the basic strategies outlined above. Students should also consider visiting the Office of Career Services in person and meeting with one of the Career Counselors to discuss their overall internship goals and to be introduced to the on-line resources.
- The LACN Database is a database of internship openings developed by a consortium of 29 liberal arts colleges, called the Liberal Arts Career NetWORK, of which Colby is a member. The database can be searched using a variety of parameters, including career field and geographic region.
- Internships USA offers an online collection of internship directories in a variety of categories, including internships in Washington, DC, human rights internships, sports internships, museum internships, and many other options.
- Spotlight on Careers is a collection of web sites designed to give students an overview of 28 different career fields. Each site provides numerous links to related resources, and several sites provide links which list internship opportunities.
- CareerSearch allows you to research over two million companies and organizations in scores of career fields. You can target your search to find companies in fields related to your interests, and you will find the names and contact information for key people who you can approach directly to inquire about possible internships. Many organizations include links to their web sites, which frequently provide information about their internship programs.
- The Alumni Directory is an on-line database of Colby alumni, who are an excellent source for career guidance and referrals that can ultimately lead to internship opportunities. The use of the Alumni Directory will be greatly enhanced by spending a brief session with a Career Counselor, where you can learn both the techniques for searching the database as well as strategies for how to approach alums for assistance.