When I was looking for internship opportunities, way back in 2004, social media was not that prevalent and I went the traditional way of searching for internship opportunities and emailing professors. However, today, sites such as LinkedIn have become the go to websites for job seekers and those who are looking to hire talent.
The best part about LinkedIn is that it helps you network with industry professionals, keep up to date with what is happening and find out opportunities. It also has tons of pages and groups which are completely dedicated to providing information about summer internship opportunities.
So how do you go about using LinkedIn for finding internship opportunities?
Well, the first step is to create a LinkedIn profile. Here are some tips to keep in mind while building your profile:
- Your name: This is the name that will come up when people for search for you, hence stick to the same name that you use for your official email id.
- Your photograph: Your photo speaks a lot about you and you would not want to frighten away prospective employers by putting up weird/creepy photos. A profile with no photo is also not desirable – according to LinkedIn, profiles with photographs get 14 times more views than those without.
- Be precise in the headline: A short, informative, precise headline which explains exactly what you do now and plan to in the future, will help prospective employers get an idea about you. Eg. Aspiring engineer looking to build futuristic robots.
- Don’t be shy: The summary space is where you shout out about all your achievements – academic and otherwise, your qualifications, goals and plans. Mention what you have done and what motivates you. Add keywords that recruiters may look for, eg. graphic designing, network and information security, product planning, marketing, content writing, etc.
- List all your experiences: Even if you don’t have much in the work experience column, mention all other paid/unpaid internships you have done, volunteering projects you have taken up, certifications, team projects and additional courses you have done.
- Mention your skills: Be it language skills, subject based skills, or otherwise, the more skills you list on LinkedIn, the more endorsements you get for these skills and the greater the chances of recruiters finding you. According to LinkedIn, members with five or more skills are contacted 33 times more than other LinkedIn members.
Once you have built your profile on LinkedIn, you need to start following companies and groups that you are interested in. If you happen to be interested in interning with a particular company, find them on LinkedIn and send them a connection request. Actively keep checking their profile to see whether they are putting up any internship opportunity posts.
Network: Met someone at a career fair or a seminar? Add them on LinkedIn – remember chances of getting through internship programmes with companies such as Google and Microsoft are much higher if an existing employee refers you. If anyone of the alumni from your school work in one of the top companies that you are looking to intern at, search for them and connect with them. LinkedIn has an amazing Alumni Tool that shows you where the ex-students from your institute are currently working at. Just remember to always add a personalized message each time you send a LinkedIn connection request.
Join groups: There are also a large number of groups on LinkedIn which are solely dedicated to internships. To search for those, enter ‘Internships’ in the Search tab and that will lead you to a number of different groups. You can either ask to join them, or individually apply to them. Alternatively, enter ‘Internships’ under Jobs/Groups, and choose your preferred location. That will then give you a list of all the active internship programmes available in that particular area.
About the author:
Aniket Singh works for Apple Inc. in California, United States. He is also the author of "Intern Abroad This Summer".
Aniket holds a BTech degree in Electrical Engineering from the IIT, Madras, Chennai, and a Master’s degree in Wireless Systems from Politecnico Di Torino in Torino, Italy. He has interned at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom and Ecole Polytechnic Federale de Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland during this studies.
Visit him at Aniket Singh .
Check out his book at Intern Abroad This Summer