Looking for your first job or internship can be frustrating. At times, it seems like you need previous experience or an insider connection. Here are a few places to look for opportunities to launch your career:
Your university career office
Whether you are a current student or a recent graduate, there’s a good chance that your school’s career office has a list of companies that have reached out to them, looking to fill internships and entry-level positions. In some cases, your school may have a special relationship with certain companies that could give you a leg up. In other cases, companies simply prefer to reach out to colleges directly, rather than publicizing a job to the general public.
You don’t have to have high-level connections to find out about entry-level job openings. Your friends, family, and acquaintances can be a great source of info about opportunities just waiting to be filled. How do you make it easy for your network to help you out?
- Spread the word. Let your friends and relatives know that you’re looking for opportunities, and fill them in on the types of jobs that would be ideal. (After all, you don’t want your aunt connecting you to her company’s administrative services department if you’re looking for a chance to practice your engineering skills.)
- Use LinkedIn. Do you have a few companies you think would be an amazing match for your skills? Go on LinkedIn and see whether any of your friends — or their connections — are working at those companies. So if you dream of working for General Motors, and your college roommate has a connection who’s currently employed there, ask your roomie whether he or she would be open to making an introduction.
- Make friends with professionals in your field. What events do folks in your industry tend to attend? Are they experts who like to go to trade conferences to build on their knowledge? Or are they IT enthusiasts who spend their weekends at hackathons? Either way, identify the places you are likely to find them, and start going there. You never know who might have an insider lead on a new entry-level position.
Check their website
Some companies do not actively post their openings on public job boards, but instead, make new openings known on their website, so that they are only seen by candidates who are specifically interested in their company. Thus, if you’re interested in working at a particular firm, take a careful look at their “Careers” or “Hiring” section. Or, if it’s a smaller company, consider reaching out to the manager in charge of your area of expertise to see whether they would consider taking you on as an intern.