How to Start the Job and Internship Search

Winter break is a great time to start your job and internship search. Here are a few tips to help you begin!

Step 1. Know what you’re looking for 

Knowing what types of jobs or internships you’re looking for is the first step to a successful search. Determine what is important to you which could include: location, compensation, organization size, work environment, culture, mission/vision. 

  • Do you have a specific career or internship goal? If not, consider coming to the Fleishman Center to talk with a career consultant.
  • Take stock of your skills: Research the most common skills required of the field or industry of interest. 

Learn about the industry’s job and internship search timeline. 

Most industries have unique timelines for hiring. Be mindful of these timeframes so that you can plan your search accordingly. Meet with a career consultant to plan your search!

Step 2. Conduct your Job or Internship Search

Set aside time

  •  Searching can quickly become a full-time job in itself. Set aside time each week to focus on your search.

Tailor your documents 

  • As you are searching and applying for positions you should be tailoring your résumé and cover letter based on the specific requirements of each position
  • Take note of the keywords used in a position description and consider incorporating some of these keywords into your documents


  • Networking is a constant part of job or internship searching and should be ongoing throughout and after your search.


  • Utilize a variety of job and internship boards to search for positions, including sources such as hireBING, LinkedIn and Vault.
  • Connect with your network to identify job or internship boards specific to your field. 

Determine References

Selecting References

  • Select people who can speak to your skills, abilities and work ethic in relation to your professional goals. 
  • Consider asking professors, supervisors, and advisors or colleagues. References should not be related to you. 

Reaching out to References

  • Prior to searching, contact your references to ask if they would be willing to serve as a reference and let them know what types of opportunities you will be applying to. 
  • Contact your references again when you’re being seriously considered for a position to let them know when they can expect to be contacted. 

Follow up on Applications

  • Keep a list of the positions you’ve applied to and when the application closes. Following up 1-2 weeks after an application closes can be an effective way to show your interest in the position. 

Step 3. Evaluate your Job or Internship Search

Finding the Right Organization

Before undertaking a job/internship search, consider what qualities or values are important to you in a future employer. There are steps you can take to determine if an organization is a good fit for you. 

  • Check the ‘careers’ or ‘human resources’ page of the organization website. Look for information about diversity and inclusion policies and programs and other aspects of the organization’s culture that may be important to you.
  • Research the organization through a Google search, relevant publications, and social media to gain an outside perspective. This can help to determine an organization’s attitude toward diversity and inclusion. 
  • Speak to current employees. 
  • During the interview, ask questions about the organization’s culture and how they embrace diversity.   

Highlight Your Experiences

Your background makes you a unique candidate and has given you a set of experiences that could be valuable to prospective employers. Think about how your experiences will support the organization’s mission and goals and the position to which you are applying.

Build a Community through Networking

There is no question that networking has a valuable role in the job search process. There are opportunities for you to learn more and be more culturally aware through diverse networking. For students with diverse backgrounds and experiences, networking has added benefits. Some of them include: 

  • Hearing first-hand about someone’s own career path can offer insight and guidance. How did they overcome adversity and navigate challenges along the way? What can they tell you about an organization culture? 
  • Validation from hearing someone’s shared experience. They have gone through what you are about to go through and can offer advice and support. 

For more information and tips on searching for jobs or internships, check out our Career Guide!

By Emily Abatecola
Emily Abatecola Emily Abatecola