Posted on 11/24/2021


When should students start looking for a spring internship and where should they apply?

To help you know when and where to apply for spring internships, we asked recruiting professionals and business leaders this question for their insights. From planning three to four months out to looking into recruitment fairs, there are several ways to strategize getting a spring internship.

Here are nine tips for when and where to apply for spring internship opportunities:

  • Look Into Recruitment Fairs Far in Advance
  • Get Professional Experience Early
  • Plan for Three to Four Months Out
  • Seek Opportunities With Prestigious Employers
  • Always Be on the Lookout
  • Start Your Career on the Right Foot
  • Attend Networking Events With Resume in Hand
  • Consider Starting Junior Year
  • Stay Competitive by Starting Early

Look Into Recruitment Fairs Far in Advance

Students need to think ahead and start applying for spring internships up to half a year or more beforehand. This is necessary because the application process can take a while, as can gathering documentation, like letters of recommendation. Plus, companies tend to close applications for spring internships in the fall semester, so getting in as early as possible is wise.

As for where students should apply, that depends on which field they’re interested in, or even a field that they think they could learn new skills in. Websites like Internships can help find internship opportunities, as can searching on Indeed and LinkedIn. You should also see if your school has any internship recruitment fairs.

Erick Streelman, King’s School

Get Professional Experience Early

Don’t let the majority of internship posts looking for college seniors sway you from looking if you’re still in the midst of your degree program. It’s true that some companies hire fresh grads after a successful internship, but there are also companies that offer more general internships for freshmen and sophomores that can help students get experience in a professional environment. Having that kind of experience looks great on your resume. It just takes some diligent searching to find the right fit.

I would suggest checking your university’s internship resources first. Often, schools have a job and internship portal, such as Handshake. Optimize your account and keep your resume updated for the best chance at securing an interview.

Meryl Schulte, Markitors

Plan for Three to Four Months Out

When targeting a spring semester internship, students generally need to do their research and get their applications in by mid-fall at the latest. As a rule of thumb for internship opportunities, most companies like to close their application period three to four months prior to the student’s start date, giving them ample time to finish their selection process and prepare for the student’s experience. 

This is particularly true for spring internships, where recruiters like to have their interns selected, plans completed, and everything buttoned up before their holidays. Thus, in order to maximize your chance of landing a spring internship, this means students need to plan on applying during September and October. 

And in terms of which programs to apply for — hit them all! The industry relevance of your internship experience isn’t as important as just showing that you did something.

John Ross, Test Prep Insight

Seek Opportunities With Prestigious Employers

The greatest demand for interns is always expressed by large firms, which can take the risk of long-term investment in graduates while smaller businesses seek quicker returns. They usually recruit in annual cycles matching academic year plans. 

Applying soon after starting a new year at university is the safest choice. The most esteemed employers in most industries are aware of that and usually start and finish their recruitment earlier than their competitors. Applying early into the semester allows you to try getting the most prestigious role, and if that won’t work, there will still be time to apply for a second choice internship.

Michael Sena, SENACEA

Always Be on the Lookout

Students should always be on the lookout for spring internships whenever possible. It should start either at the beginning of the fall semester or the spring semester. There are opportunities at all times to start looking for spring internships. The postings are continual, and employers are constantly seeking.

Michael Jankie, Natural Patch

Start Your Career on the Right Foot

It’s never too early to apply for your spring internship. Students should apply as early as possible to ensure they get an internship that starts their career off on the right foot. 

If the internship starts early, that can provide extra experience and some additional income. In a remote and hybrid job market, students have broader opportunities and no longer have to be limited by geography — an advantage no generation has had in the past!

Logan Mallory, Motivosity

Attend Networking Events With Resume in Hand

Start looking as soon as possible. Also, remember that there are networking events out there, not just for jobs but for internships, as well. So, do your research on when those are happening. 

Whether virtual or in-person, these networking events can help you to make a good impression with someone from a company where you might want to pursue an internship. So make sure you have a presentable resume, dress professionally, and put your best foot forward.

Mike Clare, Mood Health

Consider Starting Junior Year

Ideally, students should start looking for a spring internship during the first semester of their junior year of college. Sites such as Idealist offer students the chance to volunteer or intern. Alternatively, students can go to their academic advisor and ask for recommendations.

Evan Zhao, Revela Health

Stay Competitive by Starting Early

I commonly recommend that students, either graduating or looking for internships, should start the process about six months out. If not to apply, to make connections at organizations they’re most eager to work with. 

While some don’t like to discuss it, it is in fact a competition. Why wait until everyone else starts and lose out on your top choice. Get things started on your time, show desire, interest, and drive. You might get lucky, and they look to start you sooner!

Josh Rock, Nuss Truck & Equipment

 

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