How do I go about finding an internship?

Question: “How do I go about finding an internship?”

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

Let me start with emphasizing the important of internships. College students simply need to find the time to do them… and do as many as possible. Not only can internships give the you very important experience that employers seek of even entry-level workers, but they can also give you a greater sense of your career direction by either reinforcing your chosen career or giving you an experience that sends you back for more research.

And while many students complete internships during the summer months, internships can also be arranged during the fall and spring semesters, giving most students ample opportunities to graduate with at least one internship, and the better students with multiple internships.

So, given the importance of internships, how do you go about finding one? There are five main sources of internships.

Your College Career Center. Businesses and organizations located near colleges love having students as interns, and most of these local opportunities go through your college’s career center. So, if you have been avoiding making an appearance at the career center’s office, now is the time to do so. Not only can these professionals help you identify internships, but they can help you with your resume, interviewing skills, and so much more.

Your College Professors. Most faculty are plugged into certain local businesses and organizations, so it makes sense to talk to your academic adviser as well as other professors in your department of study. And if you want to intern away from college, closer to home (or elsewhere), your professors might be perfect for helping you make those connections.

Your Network. Maybe not your network exactly, but the network of your family and family’s friends. A network is simply a group of people that have some connection to you — and have some interest in helping you succeed. Since many of the adults in your life most likely work, all of their places of employment are potential sources of internships. All you need to do is approach these folks, perhaps in a letter or email, and solicit their advice in identifying internship information.

Career Fairs. If you thought career fairs were just for seniors, you are wrong. At many collegiate career fairs, recruiters are also there to identify potential interns. And even if a recruiter from an attending company does not specifically say the organization is looking for interns, it does no harm to go up to the table and ask about the possibility. Most colleges have career fairs on campus, and there are also regional fairs — and even virtual careers fairs online.

The Internet. Some of the most coveted internships must be applied to online, either through an internship Website or through an organization’s online career center. Here’s a listing of all the best internship Websites… and if you have a list of specific companies at which you would like to intern, use your favorite search engine to get to their corporate career center.

Learn more in this article: How to Find Your Ideal Internship.

This article is part of a series from The Career Doctor’s Cures & Remedies to Quintessentially Perplexing Career and Job-Hunting Ailments. Read more.

See a list of all the most common college, career, and job questions — and Dr. Hansen’s solutions.

Who is the Career Doctor? Learn more, read his current career column, or browse the column archives when you visit the Career Doctor’s homepage. Founder Dr. Randall Hansen Dr. Randall S. Hansen is a nationally recognized career and job-search expert. He is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of He is also founder of and He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He’s often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at) Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.

Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.

Maximize your career and job-search knowledge and skills! Take advantage of The Quintessential Careers Content Index, which enables site visitors to locate articles, tutorials, quizzes, and worksheets in 35 career, college, job-search topic areas.