Internships, internships, internships. This is one of the most frequently used words in a college student’s vocabulary and the positions most sought-after during their undergrad careers. From big companies like Google and Facebook to smaller, family-owned businesses, internships provide students on-the-job experience before they graduate. With students and many employers currently working remotely, it is possible for you to effectively apply for these positions in a virtual setting. Here are some ways to maximize your internship search:

Get Organized

It may seem like a no-brainer to be organized, but it is essential to keep track of all your applications and login information. Certain positions may require information (like transcripts or recommendations) that you need time to collect, so writing it down will help you remember. For positions that have various stages, keeping those dates in one place will let you follow up if you move onto the next round. Being organized will also give you peace of mind that all your information for each application is in one place if you need to refer to it again.

Use Your LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the major networking platform, and you will find job opportunities, both officially listed and often embedded and shared within personal feed updates. Let’s say you are connected to someone who works at Facebook. If they have an open position, chances are they may post it on their LinkedIn with either a direct link to the application or their email for you to express interest, giving you the opportunity to apply quickly.

Andre Rishi, a Graduate Career Advisor at CSUF College of Business and Economics, mentions that a ‘soft-ask’ can open doors and a ‘hard-ask’ can close them. He suggests that when reaching out to connect with new people on LinkedIn, make a “soft-ask.”

“Always keep in mind that they do not know you or your work ethic. If, for example, you are reaching out to someone who works in an industry that you are seeking to step into, then when you connect with them, do not immediately ask them for a job or take your resume to their manager. This is a “hard-ask”. This person does not know you or your work ethic at this point and there is no trust built between the two of you.

Rather, reach out with a “soft-ask”, such as, “I’d love to know more about your career path in XYZ field” or “I’d love your advice on how a new graduate should approach working in XYZ field”, or “I’d love to know more about the work culture of your company”. These are what we consider a “soft-ask”. What you are asking is not unreasonable and it is easy for them to say “yes” too. A” hard-ask”, if the contact has no relationship with you, is more likely to get rejected and it may be that the connection will no longer communicate with you. A “soft-ask” helps build a relationships and eventually open doors of opportunity for you.”

Ask Your Family and Friends

During this difficult time, businesses may need a helping hand. Maybe a friend of yours has a family business that needs extra help with financial matters or marketing. You can offer to help them out, and in turn, you gain experience for your résumé. While this may not be an official internship, you will apply your classroom knowledge in a real-world setting, which is valuable in the long run. At the same time, you may be more comfortable working with individuals you already know, so you may have less first-experience jitters. Sam La Scala ’22 (Business Major) had that experience and says, “My friendship with [Titan alumna] Rachel Griffin opened a door to my current position at Legrande Corporation. Since she knew my work ethic, and we had worked together in school, I was able to get my foot in the door and show my skills to the company, resulting into an internship when a spot became available.”

Get Some Feedback

While we may say we appreciate constructive criticism, it is still hard to take it, but feedback is essential. Résumés are constantly updated according to your experience and sometimes to the position you are applying to, and having someone review it is helpful for accuracy and readability. There are certain elements to your résumé that you may be personally attached to but may not be the best information for an employer, so getting input from a career advisor, VMock or a friend will aid your editing process. If you’ve written a great cover letter, it is also worth having someone take a second look for some pointers. If you didn’t land a position you applied for, try to reach out and see if they will tell you what to improve in your effort for the next time around.

Join a Club

With more than 300 organizations on campus, a club is a great way to widen your contact list for potential employers. When you join a club that you feel passionate about, you will be more inclined to connect and network – an advisor may have a connection to a company or a peer may be connected to your dream corporation. Organizations also offer leadership opportunities that enhance your résumé, and you will enjoy attending events at the same time, making it a win-win situation.

Be Consistent

There are so many listings for internships, but there may also be rejections. Applying continuously to as many positions as you can will, of course, increase your chances of landing an internship. Applications take time and effort to perfect, so applying to the positions you believe you have a good shot at is the best use out of your time. Reach out to your connections to see if they know of a position opening up, or talk to the career center; there is always something you can do to continue searching for an internship.

Overall, you may not see the fruits of your labor immediately when you begin applying for internships, but you will gain momentum as time goes on. If you aren’t immediately successful, that isn’t to say you didn’t do enough but rather a moment to evaluate what you can improve upon or do differently as you continue applying. Keep at it Titans, you’ve got this!