The Cutting Edge: Five Tips for Securing a Summer Internship

You may not have a gig yet, but it�s not too late

Summer is approaching, and if you’re bummed because you didn’t get that stellar internship or—let’s be honest—couldn’t muster up the motivation to apply, it’s not too late. In fact, this economic conundrum might actually work in your favor.

In April, unemployment rose to 8.9%, spreading across nearly all major private-sector industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As more employers reduce staff, onerous workloads for remaining employees may create just the opportunity for college to students to pursue last minute work opportunities. “There are many internships available at organizations that are all suddenly short staffed,” says Tere Ramos, internship director at Wellesley College, in Boston.

Before you throw in the towel, here are five tips to help you secure a last minute internship for the summer.

Stay local: If you haven’t nailed down an internship by now, chances are, traveling across the country to live it up without mom and dad is out of the question. Instead, stay local. If you live in an on-campus apartment, or plan to go home, search for openings in the region. Tap into your network, too. Talk to professors, former internship advisers, friends and family about any companies or organizations that will need help this summer. Sometimes, a recommendation from a friend can take you further than just a resume.

Read, read, read: Stay abreast on what’s going on in the community where you’d like to intern. “Start reading the local newspaper to find out who is doing what,” Ramos says. “See who’s feeling the downtown,” she adds. If a particular company has cut jobs or even begun working on the new project, chances are, there may be room for you to intern. Do your research and try getting in contact with the human resource manager or even the person you’d likely work under. Remember, there’s a fine line between persistence and annoyance.

Step outside your major:
When searching for a last-minute internship, your options may be a bit limited, especially if you’re a college freshman, since most internships are reserved for upperclassmen. I came across this problem my freshman year of college. My recourse? I interned in the marketing department at a local radio station. It was completely out of left field, but the experience set me up for a sweet radio job two years later, and the director wrote an amazing recommendation that helped me out for my next internship.

Look, the point of an internship is to obtain professional experience and interning outside of your major may give you insight on other off radar career choices.

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