Before you know it, summer is going to be here, and that means spending days drinking iced coffee, vacationing with your family – oh, and also interning at the company of your dreams. What you might forget, however, is that a majority of intern positions fill up way before summer break, because it takes a lot of planning, especially if you’re interning in a new city. So, it’s best to start your summer internship search ASAP, allowing you to plan ahead and make sure to get your foot in the door early enough.

Whether you’re looking for an entry-level intern position or you have a few years’ worth of work under your belt, the internship hunt can be tricky, especially if you’re doing it on top of schoolwork. This time, think outside of the big job boards and get ahead of the game. Your next internship may simply be a few clicks or one conversation away!

1. Ask your mentor(s) for a recommendation

Your former supervisors, professors or tutors can lend you a helping hand. They likely have some contacts and connections who can help refer you to a position highly applicable to your strengths and skills. It’s one of the most personable ways to meet your next opportunity. Plus, since your mentors have a comprehensive understanding of your character and work ethic, it’ll reduce a lot of the time that would’ve been involved in a hiring process to evaluate your experience and culture fit. That being said, it’s a good idea to regularly keep in touch with your mentors through email, text or even over video calls! Always thank them for their time and accept each piece of advice with gratitude.

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2. Check your community center for local opportunities

Community centers and libraries tend to have specialized job boards and work brochures, as well as simple word-of-mouth if you just ask the receptionist! If you’re searching for legal or government opportunities on a local level, libraries are an informational goldmine. Best of all, they’re typically open to the public with regular career-related workshops such as resume building and networking strategies. Most of these are drop-ins, so no commitment is required. Attend events that fit your schedule, rather than the other way around!

3. Check industry-specific job boards

A quick Google search will bring up tons of subject-specific boards in your area. Got a thing for teaching? Visit Idealist to find an internship nearby or abroad. Is design your passion? Head straight to Behance to find your happy place. Do you love finance? Graduateland has tons of openings for you. Do you foresee journalism in your near future? Ed2010 has your back! Of course, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, and use the big guys like LinkedIn to keep your search wide.

4. Slide into someone’s DMs

Could a hashtag or mention on Instagram and Twitter be the link to your next internship? You betcha! More and more companies are seeking out social-savvy students who are eager to connect and interact via the realm of social media. This is especially effective if your internship focuses on building connections online (e.g. marketing, PR or journalism). Clean up your profiles beforehand so you can put your best foot forward. You can try tagging companies in your posts or DM them directly on Instagram or Twitter (bonus points for a cheeky message). The trick is to stand out from the crowd. Show and tell the world how enthusiastic you are about your dream companies!

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Take some time to try out some of these new methods and figure out what’s best for you. Remember, you’ve got nothing to lose when applying to summer internships, and confidence plays a huge role. If you’re self-assured about your abilities, it’ll definitely show through in your application and interview.

Here’s to scoring that amazing internship you’ve always wanted.


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