The year is 2010 and the economy is not only a burden for those searching for jobs but also those searching for internships. The process of finding an internship has never been considered easy, but currently it is unbelievable the amount of people fighting for work experience and those normally of which go unpaid.
Over the past 10 years the target audience of prospective interns has seen a dramatic shift. Interns used to predominantly consist of college students, normally juniors or seniors, who either through the design of their college program or through there own good will, were looking to gain experience in their field before taking off for the work force. Surely that same concept still holds true with collegiate students, but now not only are they competing against one another, but it is not uncommon for a slightly older generation to be competing against them as well. With the unemployment rate in the United States currently at staggering heights, whether a college student or a college student’s parents, everyone is looking for a way to get his or her foot in the door.
Surely sites like teamworkonline.com and workinsports.com are terrific resources to not only finding internships but also to finding jobs, but the one d0wnfall with these sites are the amount of openings available and the overall awareness of positions are limited. Not that the websites are at fault but many organizations do not post a bulletin every time they have an opening, first and foremost because people contact them before the company has the chance.
By no means should I be considered an internship-landing guru, because quite frankly I am the opposite. I am currently a college student going through this exact process but there are two resources I think prospective interns should take full advantage off. Surely there are many search engines that can assist applicants in finding an internship, but for the proactive type it would be a sin not to reap the benefits of Twitter and LinkedIn.
It took me quite sometime to distinguish how Twitter was any different than updating your status on Facebook, but after you are able to differentiate the differences the opportunities presented are endless. Once you become somewhat proficient using Twitter and the amount of resourceful people you follow begins to grow, more and more opportunities will become available. I follow many professionals in the sports industry consisting of CEOs, store managers, entrepreneurs, and coaches, all of which update different aspects of their company. Sometimes all it takes is following the right person, mentioning them in a post showing interest in their company, and with a little luck you might end up getting involved with the right people. Those who follow you back are easier targets as it allows the exchange of direct messages, something more personal and the opportunity to possibly exchange contact information and bring your conversation to the next level.
Personally I enjoy using LinkedIn because it is the business professional’s version of Facebook. Similar to the concept with Twitter, once you begin connecting with more and more people and as your networking base begins to grow it increases the chances of potential opportunities. As does a fine wine, it takes time to see potential results through LinkedIn. First you start connecting with your current employees, and although that may not seem like a big deal at the time, it is where those same employees end up in the future that could be beneficial towards you in the end. It is not uncommon for that sales girl working for the same minor league baseball team as you to end up as the director of marketing for the Dallas Cowboys. It is all about maintaining that relationship, and now all of a sudden that sales girl has the key to opening the door to your next internship or possibly even your career.