Searching for Internships in the USA
By InterExchange Staff
5 minute read
Searching for an international internship can take time. A majority of past participants spent more than 3 months searching for their internship in the U.S., so it’s important to start early. We recommend beginning your search 3-6 months before the planned start of your internship program. Don’t forget that once you’ve found and accepted an internship offer, you will then need to apply for J-1 visa sponsorship.
Before you begin searching for internships, make sure to take the time to define your internship goals. You need to be clear about your own priorities and expectations so that you know exactly what to look for. Once you’ve decided what you hope to gain from this experience, use the resources below to search for companies that match your needs.
Networking & Personal Connections
The most effective way to find an internship in the U.S. is through personal connections and networking. Speak with family, friends, fellow students, coworkers, professors, and past or current employers. Chances are that someone you know may have visited, gone to school, or worked in the U.S. — or they might know someone who has. Don’t be shy about asking for their assistance!
Collect contact information for anyone who may be able to help you find an internship in the U.S. Reach out to them via email or phone and let them know that you are looking for an internship in the U.S. in your field of interest. Even if your contacts are not working in your particular industry, they may know someone who is. Although there may not be any available internships at their company at the moment, they can refer you to their own contacts and will keep you in mind if something becomes available.
It’s also very important to be proactive! If you are ever in the U.S. on vacation, try to set up informational interviews with employers with whom you would be interested in interning. This is a great way to learn more about a particular company; it’s also a way for them to consider you should an internship position become available. Read our blog post on networking for more tips.
For more detailed information on using social media during your internship search, read our guide, Leveraging Social Media to Search for Internships and Training Programs.
Social Networking Websites
Facebook: Become a fan of American companies on Facebook and contact them directly to learn more about them. Companies may even have internship listings on their Facebook page. And remember, if you plan to allow employers to view your Facebook profile, be sure that all of the information and photos on your page are appropriate. Many employers turn candidates away due to inappropriate content on their social media profiles.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a social network for professionals. If you do not have a LinkedIn profile yet, create a profile and fill it in as completely as possible. Your profile will essentially serve as an online resume. Your information should be in English and should include all relevant educational and work experience. Once you have a profile, you can search for companies and their employees and contact them directly about internship opportunities. There is also a section where you can search for internships. For more tips on using LinkedIn for your internship search, check out our LinkedIn Guide
Twitter: Companies usually keep their followers informed about their business operations and relevant industry news on Twitter, and some even post internship positions on their feed. Set up a Twitter account and follow the top employers in your industry to see what they’re tweeting. This is also a great way to get company updates and information, which will be helpful when writing a cover letter or interviewing with the company. You can also reply to tweets from the employer about something related to the company to get a dialogue going.
Blogs: Check official company blogs to learn general information about potential employers and to see when new internship opportunities are available. This is also a great way to identify projects a company may be working on that may align with your skills and interests.
University Career Center
Your university career center is a great place to start your internship search. They will help you with pre-search preparation, such as defining your goals and writing your resume. Once you’re ready to start applying, most career centers will have a job board or database with job openings or internship listings. Many of the companies in the database may already have a connection to your university, giving you an edge over other applicants. You should also take advantage of your university’s network. If you see that a university alum works for an organization you’re interested in, ask the career center for advice on reaching out to them.
Internship Search Engines
There are hundreds of different internship search engines in the United States. Many of these sites will allow you to post your resume, search listings by industry, find career advice, and discover tips for cover letters, resumes, and interviewing:
Industry-Specific Listings Include:
Accounting & Finance
Advertising, Sales & Marketing
Arts & Culture
- New York Foundation for the Arts
- Americans for the Arts
- The Association of Art Museum Curators
Hotel Management & Tourism
Information Technology & Computer Science
Media, Communications & Graphic Design
Political Science & Public Affairs/Administration
Good luck in your internship search! Once you’re ready to apply for the internship of your dreams, follow our tips for submitting an application that will get noticed and acing your interview.
InterExchange is proud to have an experienced team that is dedicated to international cultural exchange. We come from a variety of backgrounds, but nearly every member of our New York City-based staff has extensive experience traveling, working, or living abroad.
Learn about life abroad
Read about the adventures others have had and get excited for yours.