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Job & Internship Search

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There are a variety of methods to conduct your job and internship search. You might focus on networking, meeting with employers on campus, or attending career fairs, among other opportunities. In the coming pages, we will help you sort through the options that make sense for you and your priorities and interests. But first, ask yourself what kind of search fits your needs, personality type, and desired outcomes.

Creating a Targeted Approach

Before you begin your job search, take time to narrow down what you’re looking for so that you can create a targeted approach that will lead to effective results. 

Some key questions to consider:

  • What are my values, interests, identities, personality, skills/competencies, strengths, and needs? CLA Career Services offers career assessments that may help you identify and articulate these characteristics further. 
  • What are my key educational, work, volunteer, and leadership experiences?
  • What is my preferred type of work environment (e.g., team-oriented staff, long-term projects, fast-paced atmosphere, etc.)? What type of supervisor am I seeking?
  • What geographic location am I targeting?
  • What type of career field do I want to work in (e.g., government, nonprofit, business, etc.)?
  • What type of position/job category/job title am I seeking, such as: banking, editing, human resources, teaching, computer science, research, etc.?
  • What organizations might I want to work for? (Note: Use the CareerOnestop Business Finder tool to identify businesses and Idealist to find nonprofit organizations.)

Download Our “Job & Internship Search Guide” Handout

Our Job & Internship Guide is a four-page handout (in PDF format) that offers tips and outlines the many variables you should consider as you pursue a job/internship search.

When To Start A Job/Internship Search

  • Internships and jobs are posted year-round and organizations have different recruitment timelines. It is recommended that you start the search process early because some organizations (typically larger organizations) start their recruitment process several months in advance. Also, it often takes most job seekers about 3-5 months to find a job. A suggested timeline is that if you are looking for a summer internship or if you are seeking a full-time job for after May graduation, you should begin to actively search and apply in January/February (or even earlier)!
  • The fall CLA Internship & Career Fair (Sept.) and the UMN Job and Internship Fair (Feb.) dates serve as good reminders of when you should be searching, preparing application materials, and applying for internships and jobs.

How Do I Know if I’m Qualified for an Internship or Job?

When employers write an internship or job description, it is their wish list of what they are seeking, so don’t be put off if you don’t have 100% of the preferred qualifications they are looking for if you have about 70% of the qualifications you should consider applying.

It is rare to see a job posting seeking zero years of experience, most will say at least 1-3 years--these are the entry-level positions you should be applying for because your coursework, internship, part-time job experience, etc. counts as experience!

Top Ways Employers Find Candidates
  1. Referrals (networking)
  2. Internship Program
  3. Organization’s Website
  4. College’s Career Center (GoldPASS) & Career Fair 
  5. UMN Employer Survey