Finding Job/Internship Opportunities

The most successful job and internship seekers employ a variety of strategies. They start the process early, focus their pursuits, and develop an action plan. They commit energy and time to the search.

As a first step, you must define your end goal. You will want to find the balance between being too broad and too specific in your interests. When you focus too broadly, your search may feel overwhelming, as everything is a potential opportunity. When you focus too narrowly, your search may feel like finding a needle in a haystack. Instead, start by reflecting on what you are looking to gain from the experience and what you want in your future job or internship. Once you have defined these, there are strategies for your action plan:

IDENTIFY OPPORTUNITIES ONLINE

The effectiveness of this common search strategy will increase if you use some of these resources:

  • CareerCat and iNet list employment opportunities exclusively for Northwestern students. Northwestern’s online search systems allow our students to apply for full-time, internship, part-time, and summer employment opportunities posted by employers.
  • Niche job boards are maintained by professional associations, chambers of commerce, regional entities, and others. These websites are valuable because they extract positions aligning with career interests or geographical preferences.
  • Megasites are clearinghouses for opportunities of all sorts. These sites extract a large variety of position types and industries in diverse geographic regions. Sites to use include Internships.com, Idealist.org, and Indeed.com.

It is important to visit these websites frequently, since opportunities are added daily. If a position interests you, visit the employer’s website as well and, if possible, submit your materials directly.

Do not rely solely on these websites, however; many positions are not posted publicly, and for those that are, competition will be great because of the large number of applications.

SOURCE EMPLOYERS

Employer sourcing involves researching the potential employers in your desired industry to target and pursue opportunities. Develop a comprehensive list, including employers that you are already aware of and those that surface in your research. Online resources helpful in developing your target list include Hoover’s, Career Search, LinkedIn, and Vault.

Visit the website of each employer on your list to learn about current opportunities. If you find an opportunity, adjust your application materials accordingly and submit your application. If there are no current opportunities, network to establish a connection in anticipation of future opportunities.

MOBILIZE YOUR NETWORK

Networking, the most important strategy in finding employment opportunities, is discussed in detail in the networking section. Establishing genuine networking relationships is a constant process that should begin well before your job or internship search and continue even after you have secured a job.