10 Steps to Find an Internship
#1: PLAN: IT’S A PROCESS AND TAKES TIME!
Start early and plan to spend several months looking for an internship. Timelines: Some big companies and government agencies post internships the summer before and interview in the fall, but there are many opportunities available later. You will have to do some research, start networking, find opportunities, and apply to many organizations to land a great internship. Start working on your resume early. Applications should be pretty much completed by the end of Winter term.
Think about the type of organization you want to work at, and what role you want to explore. You will be much more successful if you are targeted vs. applying all over the place. Not sure? Speak to your advisor and/or make an appointment with Career Services to discuss your career goals and narrow your options.
#3: REFINE YOUR RESUME
Your resume is an essential tool to communicate your strengths to a potential employer. All related experiences are valuable, including course projects, student leadership, and volunteer work. See https://www.oit.edu/career-services/students/resumes
#4: LEARN HOW TO WRITE COVER LETTERS
You need to communicate to employers why you will be an asset as an intern at their organization. If there is a job description for the internship, read it very carefully, and target your letter to exactly what they are looking for. See https://www.oit.edu/career-services/students/cover-letters-and-job-search-emails
#5: USE YOUR NETWORK TO FIND OPPORTUNITIES (including Faculty, fellow students, and LinkedIn)
You will be MUCH more successful in finding internships if you use your network of friends, professors, advisors, family members, and anyone else you know to discover organizations in your field, and potential contacts within them. Tell everyone you are looking!
LinkedIn is a great place to find alumni who are willing to help you:
- Search for Oregon Institute of Technology in the search bar, then click the “See Alumni” button.
- You’ll see an interactive graph (be sure to click the “see more” buttons at the bottom and on the right for the full experience).
- You can filter by major, location, and other variables, and you can enter a company in the search bar to see if Oregon Tech alumni work there.
- Scroll down to see profiles of individual alumni who work at that company..
See https://www.oit.edu/career-services/students/networking-linkedin for more information
#6: ATTEND CAREER FAIRS
Make sure that career fairs are on your calendar. Find information about career fairs on Handshake. PSU also has a fair open to all Oregon Tech students. For more information: www.pdx.edu/advising-career-services/
#7: ENGINEERING STUDENTS: UNDERSTAND THE MECOP/CECOP PROGRAM
Multiple Engineering Cooperative Program (MECOP) and Civil Engineering Cooperative Program (CECOP) https://www.mecopinc.org/. Students are screened academically as sophomores, and then a second screening takes place through an interview process during which members of the MECOP Board interview student applicants.Applications close 3/31. Talk to your advisor to find out more.
At Oregon Tech the following majors are eligible:
- Klamath Falls: Manufacturing ET, Mechanical ET, Mechanical Engineering, Software ET, Embedded Systems ET, Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Geomatics.
- Portland: Manufacturing ET, Mechanical ET, Software ET, Embedded Systems ET, Electrical Engineering.
#8: GET ORGANIZED
Set up your voicemail with a personalized message. Find a way to keep track of all your applications. Take screenshots or print out internship postings – they can disappear overnight. Be ready to pounce when you see a good internship posted! Have an interview outfit ready.
CHECK YOUR EMAIL!
#9: GO OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Think about an internship in another city or state. It’s a great opportunity to take some chances.
#10: SEARCH ONLINE
or via TECHweb
- In a Google search bar: type [your field or major] + “internship”.
- Click the box that says "See More." You can filter by location and other parameters.
- Save your search and create an Alert to be notified about new posts.
- Google does not index Indeed postings, so definitely use both.
The biggest job search engine pulls postings from all over the web, including company websites. Try the Internship filter on the left and create alerts to save time. https://www.indeed.com/
The Careers section of company websites
Every company has a Careers or Work with Us section. As one example, Intel has a terrific site just for students, and they expect applicants to use it.
Glassdoor, with inside information about salaries and interviews, now has internship postings. www.glassdoor.com
ZipRecruiter has grown quickly to become one of the biggest job search sites. www.ziprecruiter.com To search for internship listings, go to the Jobs tab at the top of the page and put “[your interest area] + internship” in the search box. Refine your search by selecting filters on the left.
LinkedIn has many internship postings: www.linkedin.com
USAJOBS: BPA, the Army Corps of Engineers, and other Federal agencies have great internships, sometimes with short application windows. You need to be nimble to apply. Use their Resume Builder feature to ensure yours is in their preferred format. www.usajobs.gov. See the section about Federal internships at the top of this page on the right.
AND THESE SPECIALIZED SITES...
Renewable Energy Sites
American Wind Energy Association
Solar Energies Industry Association
Most will be on general sites listed above). Also:
Engineering & Technology Sites
American Society of Civil Engineers
American Society of Mechanical Engineers
IEEE (Electrical Engineering)
Nonprofit and Government
ELI Emerging Leaders Internships This program features many summer internships in the Portland metro area that target students of color.
USAJobs.gov (US Government jobs including BPA, Army Corps of Engineers, and the military)
Even More Sites...
**UNDERSTAND INTERNSHIP SEARCH PITFALLS**
Most internships are paid, legitimate internships. Fraudulent internships are like other internet fraud: be cautious. Do NOT send money or sensitive personal information to an internship posting. Ask Career Services if you have questions, and read this article for more information about deciding if an internship is legitimate: http://internships.about.com/od/internships101/a/Deciding-If-An-Internship-Is-Legit.htm
Facebook www.facebook.com Follow companies you are interested in, and also click Search and Jobs on the left side of the page.
Twitter www.twitter.com Again, follow companies you are interested in, as they often tweet about jobs in an effort to attract applicants who are very enthused about the company.
Conferences – whatever your field, there is a related professional association and they may offer student discounts for attending conferences. Many students have made invaluable connections this way.
ADDITIONAL WAYS TO GAIN EXPERIENCE
Employers don’t care if your experience is paid or not, only that it’s relevant. Find an organization that needs help related to your major, and contact them. Nonprofit organizations need marketing, operations, programming, IT, and many other types of assistance, and healthcare organizations are always in need of assistance.
Senior Projects and Personal Projects
Projects can provide the same type of experience as an internship. Students often shortchange these experiences on their resumes. Be sure to describe your project in detail: how did you assess the need for the project, what did you do to implement the project, and what was the positive result of your project? Use bullet points beginning with action verbs, and highlight your achievements, just as in other experience descriptions.
KEEP AT IT – Did we mention that it can take a while?
Companies can take a LONG time to respond. Keep at it and you are more likely to land what you want!