Mark from the University of Texas asked:
“I am entering my senior year and looking for an internship in the business field. Is it too late?”
Thank you for your question, Mark! It’s never to late to start looking for an internship! Depending on the type of internship you’re looking for, there may be special circumstances or deadlines you need to be mindful of, but there’s no time like the present to start looking.
Internships for academic credit
Depending on your campus, it is likely past the deadline for a Fall academic internship. Many academic internship programs are timed like your other classes, so they stop and start between semesters. The good news is this is the perfect time to start looking for a Spring internship!
Your first stop should be to visit your career center or business office to see about an internship for spring. They not only have all the information on deadlines and requirements, but will also have resources like job boards and approved employer lists to start your search. Familiarize yourself with your campus’ specific deadlines and guidelines so you are not caught off guard in the future. In order to receive academic credit, there are often additional requirements you must meet and rules you must follow, so make sure you’re eligible before starting to apply to positions.
Internships through your school
Taking an internship as a student doesn’t mean it has to count for academic credit. There are a variety of positions available for soon-to-be and recent grads, and your career center will have information on internship postings.
Non-academic internships are more fluid and can start at any point in the year. However, those looking for recent graduates tend to start in the Summer, so you’ll need to start looking during your Spring semester.
Internships on your own
You are always free to pursue internships on your own agency rather than going through your school. There are a wealth of internship postings on online job boards (like InternQueen, or Indeed) or through the hiring company itself. If there is a particular company you’re interested in working for and they haven’t posted jobs at your campus, you may have to go on your own to find an internship.
Internships out in the wild can start at any time, and be looking for candidates at any stage in completing their degrees.
A word of caution! Looking for a job through your school’s career center offers you some protection as a student. Positions are typically vetted, and employers who treat interns like free labor are likely to be dropped from lists. There are employers out there that take advantage of the unpaid intern, and without the school’s assistance, you’re on your own agency to protect yourself. No matter how you found the position, familiarize yourself with how the Department of Labor defines unpaid internships, and be vigilant!
Regardless of the type of internship you find, be mindful of the requirements listed in the job description of the position. Only apply to those for which you’re eligible and save yourself time and disappointing phone calls. Stay on-top of your applications, just like a full time career search, and know that it might take some time to find a good position. Think of it as practice for searching and interviewing for your first job out of school!
Best of Luck!