Confessions of a Summer Intern: Going Back to the Beginning

This is Jon back with my final update. As my internship comes to a close in the upcoming weeks, I look back on everything I have learned from this internship, and I know that this was the right fit for me. I couldn’t be happier with my experience here, and I once again encourage everyone to get involved in an internship at some point in your college career.

Nasco Magazines
Some of the Nasco catalogs that I have worked on so far.

However, one thing that I did notice about my internship experience was that it was almost harder finding an internship than it was actually doing the internship. Finding the right internship can be very stressful, and this is undoubtedly a huge deterrent for many students thinking about doing an internship. So I thought I would share a few tips I learned along the way to hopefully better your chances of finding the right internship for you.

It took four months of searching before I found my internship. I started off by just hopping on the computer and searching for anything I could find. As an English major aspiring to be an editor, I looked at a lot of internship opportunities in New York and other areas of the country. I did this, though, without considering whether I was economically able to do these internships.

The first thing you should do when looking for an internship is make a plan of what you want out of the internship and what you can afford to do. Are you simply fulfilling a requirement? Are you trying to figure out if you’d enjoy a certain career path? What do you want to gain out of this? Can you afford to go far from home? Can you afford an unpaid internship? Are you looking for full or part time? All these questions can help pinpoint where you are flexible, where you are not, and what kind of internship you should be looking for.

The other piece of advice I would give is to network. Networking is just as important in an internship search as it is in a job search. You may think that you don’t know anyone, but there are many connections you may be ignoring that could help you find an internship.

While Career and Leadership Development is a great place to start, they don’t receive every single internship opening. A good idea would be to check with a professor or the internship advisor in your major. Oftentimes they are aware of internship opportunities that may not be highly broadcasted (meaning fewer applicants). That’s why it’s never a bad idea to get to know your professors. They have years of experience and networking under their belts that they’re willing to share with students. That’s how I ended up finding my internship.

Another connection you may be overlooking is your family/extended family. Check the businesses where they work and see if there’s an opening in something in your field. If there isn’t, see if there’s a need in that company that you could fill where you could possibly create your own internship. As the old saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you leave as many doors open as possible, you’re more likely to find what you’re looking for.

Read Jon’s Entire Summer Internship Journey:

  1. Meet Jon McGuff
  2. Getting the Hang of Things

Other Summer Intern Confessions

Allison Lindsey:

Krista Wolfe:

Ellen Hatfield: