Interns Wanted: 10 Top Sectors to Help Streamline Your Search

Employers love experience. Sometimes, they are also willing to provide it - in the form of internships.

The key - to avoid spreading yourself too thin - is to target sectors and employers where your applications are most likely to bear fruit. To that end, the excellent 2017-18 Recruiting Trends report by the Collegiate Employment Research Institute (CERI) at Michigan State University really helps move things along.

Thanks to the report, we now know that utility companies are among the top employers, hiring an average of 108 interns! Or that 85% of transportation firms are actively looking for interns, even as 75% of employers in administrative services look to augment their internship hires.

But what if you’re just not that into utilities?

No worries! CERI’s still got your back. Check out these top 10 (okay, 12) sectors where employers are actively seeking to hire interns:

employers hiring interns by sector

Formatting your resume yet?

Go full click ahead and start applying for opportunities in:

On top of these, there’s still a small - but growing - bunch of employers in education, healthcare, and administrative services. To offset those fewer opportunities, though, consider applying in allied fields first. Think laterally: Can your degree in education services be parlayed into a role at a nonprofit? Can your journalism major land you a copywriter internship with a digital agency?

Save your best efforts for sectors that see active hiring and switch back to more closely aligned sectors only when you’ve exhausted those.

So who does the report, report on?

Thought you’d never ask! The CERI report draws from employer responses from all over America. From a pool of 3,370 employers actively seeking college talent, to be precise.

In all, these employers were planning to recruit 40,200 interns and co-ops in 2018, with a few companies recruiting as many as 2,000 interns each. In most cases, this is a trend that’s either stable or has been growing every year.

Bottom line: If you’re reading this in 2019, now is the time to reach out to employers and get down with those applications.

Money or credits? Or…?

A good 83% of employers offer at least some paid internships. In general, the larger the organization, the better your chances of seeing a paycheck (or five!) during your internship.

That being said, agriculture and natural resources; construction; manufacturing; mining and oil; business, professional, and scientific services; retail; transportation; utilities; and wholesale trade are all safe bets for people who like their remuneration in dollars. To say it how the report does, unpaid internships are “rarely seen” in these sectors and 75% to 95% of employers paid their interns. Yay!

But don’t hold us to that: You’ll find that paid internships are thin on the ground if you happen to be in arts and entertainment; educational services; government, healthcare, and social assistance; information services, or nonprofits. 

Still, internships can offer more than just money. Approximately 53% of employers are willing to hire interns who want to earn academic credit, while another 27% might consider accepting an intern who requires credit, though in most of these cases, the internship is often unpaid. 

Paid or un-, with credits or without, internships are always in demand for the simple reason that they’re often a foot in the door to get you that most useful of career currency: networking opportunities. So let’s get on it. Now.

Source credit:

“Recruiting Trends 2017-18 47th Edition.” Collegiate Employment Research Institute, Michigan State University,