Career Center

Steps to Finding an Internship or Job

1. Who Are You?

Focus your internship or job search on opportunities which can build on your skills and abilities, and reflect your interests and work values.

You may be clear about these personal preferences. However, if you would like to clarify or explore these qualities in a more formal way, you might take a career assessment. The O'Net Interest Profiler will help you explore your career interests, values and skills, and list the career fields which most nearly match your preferences.

See more details about the O'Net Interest Profiler and other Career Assessments here.

Click here for the "Focus Your Job Search: Worksheet".

2. What Are You Seeking?

Are you looking for an internship or full-time job? In what geographic areas? In what industries or career fields? With what job titles or functions?

These last two questions can be the hardest to answer. It is overwhelming to search for "any job", and rarely successful. If you don't have definite job titles in mind, identify two or three interests or skills you want to use in your job. What do you do well, and enjoy doing? Use those interests and skills as a basis to identify industries, organizations and job titles.

Use free job search engines such as Indeed, Juju, SimplyHired or LinkUp to explore opportunities. Put quotes around your interests, skills, phrases or job titles, then a location (i.e. "production assistant" Atlanta GA; "computer systems analyst" Raleigh NC; "event marketing" Charlotte NC)

This also is a good way to learn more about the job market for any specific career or location. These job search engines cover the entire U.S., and some international opportunities as well.

Don't stop until you have 20 organizations that match your interests or skills.

Click here for the "Focus Your Job Search: Worksheet".

3. Build Your Personal Brand

Update your profile and resume in your Handshake, and complete your professional profile in LinkedIn. Upload a professional head shot picture of yourself. In your Profile, include a few interesting characteristics in your brief Summary section. If appropriate, include industry or occupational skills in the Expertise in Specialties section. Create other Profile categories to highlight your education, experiences or skills, such as Courses, Honors & Awards, Projects, Volunteer Experiences, etc.

Build on the career goals that you identified in the first two steps above.

  • Where do you want to go with your career?
  • What do you expect from a new job?
  • Which functions? What type of organization? Which industries? Which locations?

LinkedIn can then help you find people who may be in a position to help you achieve your goals. Start by creating your own network within LinkedIn of family, friends, classmates, co-workers, professional association members, UNCW alumni, etc. Begin by including people in your email contacts list. You can import your email contacts lists from most email accounts.

Then you can search LinkedIn members by location, school (over 16,000 students and alumni currently in LinkedIn), or industry.

LinkedIn shows you the connections between people, so now look at the networks of the members of your own network. You can be connected to these second degree contacts through your own first degree contacts. LinkedIn allows you to request introductions to third degree contacts as well.

You also can identify new contacts for your network by joining LinkedIn groups. Join groups that match your occupational or industry interests, geographic preferences, etc.

To find specific people who might be helpful in your job search, use the Advanced Search function within LinkedIn to search using key words out of your career goals statements. Browse the networks of your own connections. Look in the membership lists of the LinkedIn groups you have joined. Use the Companies tab to find contacts at employers that interest you.

Once you have made connections to people in industries or organizations related to your career goals, ask their advice on getting internships or jobs, current challenges, job search strategies, etc.

Rather than advertising internship or job openings, some employers are searching LinkedIn for qualified candidates. Your complete profile and posted resume may result in some direct contacts from employers.

4. Create a List of Potential Employers

Develop a list of potential employers using these powerful online resources.

5. Find Job Listings

Check out internship and job listings in these online databases and search engines:

6. Network

Visit our Guide to Networking

Create your own business card and check out our Business Card Template!

7. Target Your Resumes & Cover Letters

Visit our Guide to Writing Resumes and Cover Letters

8. Ace Your Interviews

Visit our Interviewing Guide

Practice for your job interviews with BigInterview

Additional Tips:

Best Advice for Recent (and Not-So-Recent) Graduates

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