How To Look For Internships: an Ultimate Guide

Posted on:
Student Lifehacks
looking for an internship

Main topics in this article concern internships, websites for internships, best places to find internships, best internships, top internship websites, internship reviews, summer internships, paid internships search, top internships, where to search for internships.


If you are in the process of applying for internships or summer jobs at the moment, it is most likely that you are feeling lost and stressed out due to such an insurmountable amount of information available on the internet. So where do you start? How can you tell which internship websites are good and which ones are not? Trying to find the right internship is not easy and here at BooksRun we would like to simplify your life: we summarised the main information you need to remember when going on internship hunting and also gathered a list of the best websites to find internships. These best internship platforms will save you lots of time, effort as well as will help you avoid disappointment this summer!

Signs of Best Student Internship Platforms

editorial internship
Designed by ArthurHidden / Freepik

If you stumble upon a good search engine for internships or jobs, you will be able to recognise it very quickly! The best internship platforms take a lot of stress off you, allowing to narrow down your search for the opportunities that suit your interests as best as possible. We graded the best places to find internships according to the four main criteria: search functionality, educational resources, number of internship postings and additional tools.

  • Search functionality

By this, we mean how easy and how efficiently it is to find the information you need when you have started your internship research. What are the filters you can use to minimise your browsing time and maximise the number of useful options you can find? Can you separate paid and unpaid internships? The more there are useful job-type filters, the better it is for you and the higher the rating we gave to this website.

Another thing that we thought was helpful and which we appreciated a lot, was the layout of the job description. We found it particularly handy to have the possibility to view the job description and complete the initial application of the actual internship website on the same platform rather than being redirected to another website to create a new account from scratch. We gave a bonus to the websites that had a detailed description of the company’s profile so that you do not need to open Google to do more research yourself. In such a way you get the idea of a company’s size and culture prior to committing your time to apply.

  • Additional Tools

With this metric, we were selecting the websites that had useful tools to simplify your internship search. Together with search functionality, such additional tools can help you specify exactly what criteria you would like to find in your future job description. This will take a lot of your headache during the search process! Below are some of the tools that we consider to be of help for students:

  • Resume Uploading: Can you upload your resume on the website rather than type all the information yourself?
  • Resume Builder: Is there a tool that can withdraw information from your resume and upload it onto the system of the website?
  • LinkedIn Compatibility: Can you import the information for your CV from your LinkedIn profile?
  • Saved Searches: Can you save your customized searches?
  • Custom Notifications: Can you set up an email newsletter to let you know about the new offers that match your customized criteria?
  • Sign up With Facebook/Google: Can you sign up with Facebook or Google, or do you have to create a new profile traditionally using your email address and a password?
  • Optimized for Mobile Devices: Does the internship platform has been optimised for mobile use? Is there a dedicated mobile app to be installed?

If most of these tools exist on the website where you are doing your research, then it means that you have stumbled upon a good search platform and you have higher chances to find the internship of your dreams this summer!

  • Educational Resources

We are sure you will agree that at the very beginning when you are just starting out your internship search, there is a lot of information that you are not sure of or which you do not even know. Do not worry, it is normal – that is why you are reading this article! We gave best reviews to those internship search sites, which have plenty of resources and advice for students to simplify their embarking on the career path. Is there a detailed guide on how to build a resume? What are employers particularly looking for? Is there a CV template adapted for the industry where you hope to find a placement? Is there advice on their platform which interview questions you should be ready to answer? Is there an updated blog with content useful for young job seekers and students? Is there information about students who have succeeded with their internships and who would like to share their positive experience with others?

Some of these details are particularly useful for someone who is not sure how to start and how to write a brilliant CV to attract the attention of employers. So if such resources exist on a search platform, then you should know that you are going in the right direction – we always ranked such websites above their competitors. Such educational resources are spread around the internet but it makes much more sense for a student to read everything in one place. This means that such an internship research platform performs educational functions as well as directly serving its purpose to help students with internship and employment search.

a student using ebooks
Designed by Freepik
  • Open to Everyone

We implemented this criterion to assess who can use these job search engines and how accessible they are. From our original list of top 20 websites, we have eliminated the following categories: platforms that require a paid subscription to access available job openings ( CareerShift and CEI Internships), platforms that list jobs only available to women (HerCampus and InternQueen) and also industry-specific platforms  (USAJOBS). Additionally, in our listing, we have selected only those platforms that have an inbuilt internship search filter to make sure you do not spend hours browsing through thousands of job offers including those for vice presidents and other senior positions (that is why platforms SimplyHired and College Recruiter are not suitable in this case).

Next time when you are doing independent internship research, make sure you do not waste your effort to detail all your CV information and discover later that you have to pay for sending your application!

  • Internships availability

Of course, the amount of internships listed for students on the platform is another cornerstone that determined our selection of internship websites. It is as important as how easy it is to look for them. We have selected those ones that consistently demonstrated the highest number of listed postings in such key cities as Atlanta, Los Angeles, NY, Seattle, San Francisco and Washington DC. Also, it is better to avoid websites that during the search process redirect you to another site – it is annoying and takes a lot of your time.

Best Big Internship Platforms for College Students

successful resume helps landing a job
Designed by giggsy25 / Freepik

Once you have learned the main criteria for search engines that will help you find a suitable internship, now it is time to discuss what platforms you should use in your research.

1. Indeed

  • the largest selection of internships which are possible to find in the USA. It is no wonder, that it is the largest job-search platform at the same time.
  • detailed search function: Indeed’s search functions like the option to separate results from staffing agencies elevates it above other websites. The second option that should catch your eye is the ability to filter internships according to the date when they were posted. This feature is very useful to help you find postings from the past couple of days and Indeed makes it very easy to do so.
  • helpful additional tools: they simplify the difficult life of job-seekers. Resume uploading, customized newsletters, saved searches as well as resume building tool  – all this resonates particularly well with students’ needs. Moreover, if some of you do not have a completed CV, Indeed’s tool lets you fill the information and download a CV in the appropriate form. Very handy!

One of the points that Indeed can improve is the number of educational resources available – in fact, it is almost non-existent. There are some blog posts but they are not particularly targeted at students who need internships.

2. Glassdoor

  • Best company profiles descriptions: this sets Glassdoor apart from their competitors and turns this platform into a useful resource for internship-seekers. You can find information about former and current employee reviews, ratings of social culture inside the offices, discover information on how to land a full-time job after you complete an internship with your company, gives you tips on possible interview questions. This is valuable information which will help you make a decision about whether you should apply there or not.
  • A Large Number of Search Results: Glassdoor has consistently listed some of the highest numbers of internships in the main US cities that we mentioned above – coming just 4,000 internship listings short of Indeed but way ahead of other internship search engines.
  • Educational blog posts: this website offers some of the best resources targeted specifically towards future interns. Articles are filled with important information about interview questions,  how to turn internships into full-time offers, how to do networking and other useful tips.

Points for improvement can be Glassdoor’s search functionality. There are a few useful filters lacking like the division between paid and unpaid internships, for example. A lot of students hope to earn some money during summer internships and they want to know prior to applying whether it is appropriate for a particular internship or not.

Check below the best companies to work for in 2019 according to Glassdoor’s ranking:

Good Websites to Find Internships

Apart from such giants as Indeed or Glassdoor, there are other numerous websites which can be handy to use to apply for internships online.

3. LinkedIn

Everyone has heard about this social media platform today: it is like Facebook but for professional presence. It is highly recommended to create your profile there (make sure you use a professional photo) if you have not done it yet! You can use this website not only for searching internships but also for reaching out to the professional network and building professional contacts, you can ask for recommendations, find out the latest industry news and company insights. Once you have created your profile, you can start searching for internships: you should put the word “Internship”in the jobs tab at the top of the page. You can add filters like the industry  (“marketing internship”) as well as location (Chicago zip code) for more precise results.

Cons: It is not possible at the moment to separate paid internships from unpaid ones.

Pros: Before interviewing with the company or starting to work there, you can find valuable contacts of people who already work there. As a student, you can ask your parents to search their own LinkedIn networks for contacts for possible internship offers to help you with your internship hunting too.

Check for useful LinkedIn tips from Lauren Berger below:

4. Idealist 

This company was founded in 1995 and focuses on offering job-seekers such positions as volunteers, non-profit jobs and open internships. The company boasts with numerous openings with more than 100,000 organizations. If you think that interning for a non-profit organization sounds interesting to you, then this website is the perfect place to start! The website has such detailed search options like filtering the area of focus, paid and unpaid options, language spoken in the office. Each internship listing includes a job description, instructions how to apply, job location and possible compensation. Make sure you create an account on their website so that you could save your favourite searches, receive daily emails with a list of opportunities that may be of interest to you.

5. Absolute Internship

This website was launched in 2009 and is designed specifically for the internationally-minded internship-seekers. It will suit ambitious university students who love travelling and who would like to expand their professional network and make international friends. According to the website’s founder, van Huynh, around 1,000 students are placed into internships each year in six main locations: Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Shanghai and Singapore. The fees start from $3,099 and go up to $6,495.

6. Looksharp

This company offers postings from over 30,000 businesses including such monsters as Facebook, Charles Schwab and a few NGOs. The search engine includes positions in most US states and some areas of Canada as well. In case you saved a certain internship and it is no longer available, Looksharp will offer you several other options that are similar to the one you saved.

7Internship Programs

Internship Programs is more of a landing page listing internships from everywhere. This simple website lets you type a keyword that describes what you are looking for and then specify a geographical location that interests you – the results are in the form of what is on offer plus a link to the hiring company’s site.

This website offers a lot of useful features including career articles, job listings, specific filters for advanced research and has close connections to colleges and universities. Certain educational institutions including Duke University and The University of Tampa, use this platform to help students in their career centres to find internships. The website is regularly updated so you will find new listings every day. You need to become a member of the website to be able to send your resume to companies — so make sure you create your profile ASAP! If you college is registered with, then you should be able to create an account using your academic email address.

Useful Tips for Landing an Internship

How To Look For Internships: an Ultimate Guide 1
Designed by Freepik

It is super useful to know which websites are the best ones for finding an internship. In the meantime, it will not be superfluous to understand other important things that complete every successful internship landing. Below we have listed some ideas which you should keep in mind when conducting your internship research:

  • Start early

NACE conducted a study according to which employers begin recruiting interns eight months before the internship date. For you, this should indicate that the earlier you start applying for internships, the more strategic advantage you will have to find a great internship in comparison to other applications. So you understand now that if you want to land a summer internship, you should commence your search in October!

  • Identify potential internships

Check your potential internships sourcesinternship platforms, your parents’, friends’ and professors’ networks, your former colleagues’ connections, your school’s career services centres. There are so many employers that contact schools for a recommendation of students that will suit certain internships criteria. Therefore, you should try to get on your career counsellor’s radar to have more opportunities for quality internships. Before applying, also figure out if you actually can handle a full-time occupation or you’d rather look for a part-time internship, especially if you still want to invest some time in your studies as well — we have already discussed the problem of work and study balance in detail.

  • Perfect your CV

This part is very important – probably one of the most important steps towards finding a successful internship. Whether this is your first experience building a resume or you might have not updated it for some time, you should start with a template. This simplifies your life to the point when you can only add some tweaks to reflect your most recent experience  – and voila, you can download your updated CV in the suitable for employers format. It is also important to find three quality references that you can use on your applications. Make sure you ask permission and inform your references that you are listing them on your CV. If you do not have prior working experience, you can ask for references  your professors, use your volunteering connections or your sports team’s coach.

  • Censor your social media

According to the Times, around 93% of all hiring managers use social media to screen a potential intern with the help of social media and 55% of the time they reconsider their hiring decisions based on what they find. If they see references to illegal drugs, sexual posts and alcohol – this might impact significantly their initial decisions. Think about it next time when you are uploading photos from your night overs – is this the image you would like to pass to potential employers?

  • Apply

When you have outlined the companies you would be interested to work for, make sure you send your applications to all of them, not just your favourite one. The more you send, the higher the chances are that you will find what you are looking for. If you are submitting multiple applications in the same setting, pay attention to the details — it is so easy to get job details and company names confused when you copy and paste the information between the applications. A careless mistake can be a decisive feature for an employer not to hire you! It’s also valuable to talk or at least abou someone else’s internship experiences in the sphere of your interests — here we have an excellent review of an editorial internship at Cosmoloitan magazine.

  • Follow Up

A lot of applicants do not do or even do not know about this important part of the application process. Check in the correspondence you have had with the company if they gave you any date when you are expected to hear back from them. Make sure you wait until this date and then you can follow up. At this stage, your objective is not to secure an internship but rather get an interview. Send a short email reminding about your interest in a specific posting and make sure you attach a copy of your resume and a cover letter as well.

  • Prepare for the interview

Securing an interview is the cornerstone for cracking the internship and it is the hardest part of the process. So if you were offered an interview, do not waste your luck and prepare as much as possible. You can use Glassdoor to check potential interview questions but also prepare your answers to such popular questions like your strengths, your weaknesses, where you see yourself in 5 years’ time, you experience of leading a team etc. Also, prepare your own questions to ask after your interview is over: specific job duties, type of the working environment in the company and who you will be reporting to. You want to interview the company as well to see if it is a good fit what you want to do in the future!

How To Find an Internship Abroad

There are some of you who might be interested in getting an internship abroad – it is a very useful thing to do actually. You will have a chance to get immersed in a different culture, meet new people, practice a foreign language, embark on exciting adventures and learn new corporate culture rules appropriate to the country where you will be doing your internship. This is good for your personal and professional development and will let you stand out among other job-seekers in the future. Check why it is important to use internship opportunities abroad:

There are many ways to get your dream international internship so we prepared a quick guide for you below:

1. Agency for arranging internships abroad

One of the easiest but most expensive ways to land on a dream international internship is to go through the search and application process with an agency that specialises in this (for a fee, of course). We do not recommend using them because you are paying the money to someone for doing the administrative work which you can do yourself – on top of that, you will have to pay for travelling and accommodation from your own pocket. Moreover, there is no guarantee that they will put you for this money in the best companies to do your internship.

2. Join AIESEC chapter

AIESEC is a non-profit organisation run by and for college students that organises a lot of international internships for both members and non-members. Check with your university if there is an AIESEC chapter there which can assist you with your internship search. Also, you can make friends with awesome people all over the world who are a part of this organisation. The costs you will have to pay are very small and AIESEC will appoint you a mentor in your destination city. The mentor will provide help with getting your visa sorted, he will pick you up from the airport, take you to your apartment (and they will secure it for you) and will even bring you on your first day of internship to the company premises. Moreover, almost all AIESEC internships are paid (in proportion to your level of education and experience). These internships suit ambitious internship-seekers as well: major Fortune 500 companies offer paid international internships through AIESEC providing amazing networking opportunities worldwide. It is your chance to land long-term employment with these companies once your internship is completed! The points to consider when applying for AIESEC schemes: internships tend to be relatively long (4 months minimum) and they are applicable to those who have at least a bachelor’s degree.

3. Finding an international internship yourself

That is another option – DIY! No question, it takes a lot of time, effort and perseverance but when you accomplish it, you will have an amazing feeling of achievement! Also, you need to allow yourself sufficient time to do it. You should apply to as many companies as you can and not to feel down when you do not get a reply from every one of them. Let’s say you apply to 50 companies: you can only hear back from 12 of them, 11 of which can say that they will not be able to accommodate you for one or another reason. But then there is this 12th one that would like to invite you for a Skype interview or a “dinner interview”  – if you play to your strengths, you have all the chances to spend your summer abroad!

If you decided to search for internships abroad yourself, you have to decide which companies to email. From our experience, it is better to focus on small companies (target bigger ones with AIESEC) because big-name companies pick people among the best in the job market. You can search for an internship that relates to your hobbies: check the companies that operate in the field of your interest. There are a lot of small companies that seek talented and motivated young people and they can be generous in terms of payment and attention they give you. You can be their next intern, do not waste this opportunity!

Iliana K