Five tips for finding internships online

By Colleen Sabatino, The Intern Coach

You can find thousands of internships online—internships.com alone lists nearly 70,000 postings featuring over 10,000 companies! And if you already know the company in which you want an internship, you can go directly to the company on internships.com or to the company Web site for more information on how to apply for an internship. Here are our top 5 tips for maximizing your success in finding online internship openings:

  1. Understand the search process, which is similar to Googling. Enter the keywords, such as the field/major, state, or city. If you’re unsure of what you want, search all states or enter a broad field, such as Communications. Then, narrow your choices by paid or unpaid, college credit or not, or by hours required. Be wary of internships that lack descriptions or don’t list responsibilities. If you’re uncertain about a company, Google it to find our more about its history and business operations.
  2. Check dates. Each online internship posting lists a date, stating when the internship starts. More and more internships have open dates and are available year-round, allowing you to do your internship at a time that fits your schedule. Companies are becoming much more flexible, so even if the posted dates are not convenient, the company may work to accommodate your availability. Don’t hesitate to ask.
  3. Update your resume and cover letter. Make sure that you add all new information, including any campus organizations that you’ve just joined or class projects or volunteer work that you’ve begun. Since most online internships involve phone interviews, you might want to consider what you would say during the interview. You could even ask a friend to role play with you in preparation.
  4. Explore virtual or remote internships. Doing an internship from your own computer in your dorm room can seem like an excellent way to gain experience. But be sure to check them out carefully since you won’t be onsite. Find out how much mentoring you’ll receive and who will be your key contact. Do get a clear description of the type of work you’ll be doing. It helps if you can view the work of former virtual interns. And review the terms of payment, academic credit, and expected hours.
  5. Follow up on your online applications. Email each company to make sure that your application was received, and ask how long the process will take. Indicate your enthusiasm for the internship, emphasizing your skills. If you have the name of the person who receives the online applications, direct your inquiries to that person. Otherwise, call the company and ask the receptionist to connect you to the appropriate department or person. Since a company may receive hundreds of online applications, you want to make sure that your name stands out.