Searching for a job or internship possibilities requires planning and focus:
Set goals for your search. Think of what is important to you and how your decisions may affect your career path. Do you want an internship to gain experience in a certain area or establish connections in a specific city to position yourself for employment after graduation? Do you want to work in an area where further educational opportunities are available? Do you want to work for a firm with a certain specialty?
Target possible geographic locations to focus the search. You may think, “I am open to opportunities anywhere,” but selecting several locations allows you to thoroughly research and examine possibilities in those areas. Leaving your search too broad can be overwhelming and expensive, so select locations to start your search by determining what’s important to you. Are you looking for a permanent position near family or specific recreational activities? Do you have a preference for an urban or rural environment? Always build in flexibility to apply for opportunities not within your selected cities.
Develop a timeline and plan. Finding a job or internship takes time. Identify when you would like to start working, and move backwards to develop a timeline. If you want to start working after the spring semester, spring break may be the best time for you to travel to interview. Sending your resume and cover letter at the beginning of January would allow time for the firm to receive and review them and for you to follow up and schedule something for mid-March. Allow for some flexibility. Some jobs or internships may be posted later in the semester, but if you allow plenty of time, your search materials will be ready to send when you discover opportunities.
Prepare your search materials. You will need a resume, cover letter, and references when you begin to contact organizations. You will also need professional communication skills, a solid self-assessment of your goals and abilities, strategic answers to interview questions, interview attire, persistence, and patience.
Do your homework. Research firms or organizations and think about how your skills fit into what they do.