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Many college students and new graduates try to land internships but find the competition stiff for a few advertised internships.

In many cases, they make it harder on themselves than they need to by not trying searching in some of the most promising places.

New grads, for instance, often don’t think of asking the college career counselor because they feel that, once they have left college behind, they don’t get to use the resources there. This is not true, though – counselors certainly do go all out to help when they are asked.

The truth is, when you apply for an internship, there are often many students looking for the same position. If you do your homework and figure out what the employer is looking for in your resume and internship cover letter, you will set yourself apart from the pack.

Beyond the often referenced source of internships, we’d like to offer some new sources.

If you are looking for an internship and can’t seem to think of a place that could take you, try these 7 possibilities.

  1. Search the niche job boards

The internships that get announced on mainstream job boards – Monster, CareerBuilder and the like – can have too many people trying out. You can have more luck trying a niche job board – every industry has a few. For instance, if you wish to find an internship at a nonprofit, you should look at the job board on change.org. For government internships, you should try USAJobs.gov.

  1. Explore unlisted opportunities at local businesses

Not every business that can accept interns advertises. They simply consider the possibility when someone asks. You can look up all the different companies in your city on the Internet and then contact them one by one, asking for an opening.

  1. Look in new places outside the norm

Internships don’t necessarily have to be at regular offices. You can find them at other places too – theme parks, museums, department stores, movie theaters and so on. You need to look at every place that deals with the public as a potential internship opportunity.

  1. Leverage your parents’ friends

Your parents probably have friends working in every kind of business. They can either give you an opportunity at the companies they work at or a referral to use elsewhere. Many young people are so filled with idealistic pride that they bridle at the very mention of getting in through a favor – they want to get somewhere on their own steam. Asking acquaintances for help, though, isn’t a free ride. It’s still your own skills that make you successful once you land the internship.

  1. Go on social media

Everyone hopeful of entering the workforce should begin networking on LinkedIn starting in high school. It’s important to slowly build up a network of professionals who recognize you and respect you. By the time you get out of college, these people will be solid contacts to go to for internships.

Getting on Facebook and Twitter and simply asking someone for help can be a reasonable idea, too. You can send out a tweet, for instance, where you say that you need an internship at a certain company. If you use creative hashtags that work for your specific industry, you can even reach people who don’t follow you, maybe right at the company that you wish to work at. You might even get a direct response.

  1. Contact industry organizations

Industry organizations can be an excellent resource for internships. Signing up is an absolute necessity if you wish to make any headway in your industry. Once there, you should attend networking events, workshops, and use every other resource possible. You can talk to people, find out about internship opportunities, and this will put you ahead of the other student internship candidates.

  1. Create Your Own Internship Opportunity

You can actually ask companies to create an unpaid internship position for you. Many college graduates simply don’t think that it could be possible for them to ask a company to create a position for them if they don’t have one. Many companies do go along with such requests, though. They get free labor and you get experience.

There is no shortage of routes to take to an internship. You just need to try as many ways as you possibly can to end up with a range of choices.

Post solely written for interview-coach.co.uk by Virginia Hayes

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