Job & Internship Search Tips

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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. 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.)

 Check out our Job & Internship Search Career Guide Worksheet

Our Job & Internship Guide is a two-page handout (in PDF format) that offers tips and guides you through creating a customized search plan.

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

Resources for International Students

If you are an international student who is currently seeking a job or internship, or plan on doing so in the near future, we recommend that you check out the following resources below.

  • International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) Website: ISSS is your on-campus expert to discuss your U.S. work authorization options. Visit their website to review resources, request a meeting, and much more.
  • Career Services Website for International Students: Check out this helpful website created by career services staff across campus. The website contains resources to help you in your career exploration and preparation process.
    • Preparing for a U.S. Job Search: For international students who are seeking work in the U.S. after graduation. This page provides more information on understanding your work authorization (F-1, J-1, H-1B), how to look for internships and jobs in the U.S., preparing for your job search in the U.S., and stories from international alumni currently working in the Twin Cities!
    • Preparing for a Non-U.S. Job Search: For international students who are seeking work outside of the U.S. after graduation (e.g. returning to home country, moving to a third country). This page provides a tutorial on how to use ‘GoinGlobal’—a global job and internship search platform. In addition, learn more about career fairs/events for non-U.S. jobs, as well as how to network with U of M alumni from all over the world.
  • Work Authorization for F-1 Students