Finding an internship/co-op can be frustrating at times. We (our team) has gone through the internship/co-op search process. There were times that we did not hear back from employers after applying or simply getting a rejection email with no feedback after waiting for weeks. Our goal at STEAM Boston is to help students & professionals with career advice.
Below are some advice we have for students that are currently looking for an internship/co-op:
1) Apply Early to Companies
You certainly don’t want to procrastinate during your job search. It’s generally a good idea to start applying early, so you can stay ahead of the curve. If you don’t know where to start, you can visit your college career services and staff will be able to assist with your search. If you want to perfect your resume or cover letter, it is generally a good idea to book a meeting with an advisor at your college career center.
2) Set Goals and Priorities
For goals, you should do research on positions that you want to pursue. If you are a Computer Science major, you can either do an internship/co-op in Information Technology or you want to be a developer. Figure out your passions and go with the position that best aligns with your career path. How would this internship/co-op benefit me in the future? This is an important question to ask yourself because the skills you learn might impact your next big opportunity. Also, set goals of what industry you want to work for. Either you’re working in technology or finance, these industries are drastic in terms of culture.
For priorities, you should list your preferences like location or pay. Location is definitely a big factor because it impacts your commute. If you want to work ten minutes away versus an hour away. Having a quicker commute to work means that you will save time. But, if your dream company to work for is an hour away, then it would make sense to make some sacrifices for your commute. Pay is another factor when making a decision for your internships/co-ops. If you’re being paid less, but given an opportunity to learn more and have more responsibility. Then you would have to choose the opportunity that would benefit yourself more in the future.
3) Utilize Your Network
Send a message to fellow alumni on LinkedIn and introduce yourself. Share a few sentences on why you are interested in working for their organization. Then you can request to continue the conversation offline or via email.
Here is a template you can use to reach out to fellow alumni:
Hello [Insert Alumni’s First Name],
I’m currently a student at [Insert School] currently studying [Insert Major] and came across your profile. I’m currently job hunting for an internship/co-op for this upcoming summer. I saw that you worked at [Insert Company] and I am interested in learning more about your organization. I also saw there was a/an [Insert Position Opening] and was hoping if you could refer me to a colleague that would know more about this position. I would really appreciate your time and would be happy to anything I can to help you.
[Insert Your First Name]
This message is professional and shows that you are curious about an opening at their company. Try not to sound desperate and the goal is to build a relationship with your fellow alumni. Networking on LinkedIn is effective and you have fun building relationships.
4) Do Research on Companies Before Applying
Spend some time researching companies before applying. Companies usually have an about page and this is generally the first place you should look at. Try to understand the company’s mission and vision and see if it aligns with your goals. For companies that are publicly-traded, do a google search on their Form 10-K. For example, if you’re applying to Amazon, type “Amazon Form 10-K” into google. The Form 10-K is an annual report required by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC), that gives a comprehensive report on the company’s finances. This report has a section that outlines the business and it helps in understanding more about a company.