Internship & Job Search Strategy

Regardless of whether you are seeking an internship or career opportunity, you need to be strategic in your approach.    Rather than simply looking on a job search website with the attitude of “I’ll take anything”, take these steps in increase your internship/job search success.

Think of your internship/job search as your job.

All good things take effort.  So does your internship/job search.  The more time and effort you put into the process, the greater your results.

Download the Internship Search Timeline or the Job Search Timeline to keep your search on track.

You should start your search at least 9 months prior to what you hope to be the start of your internship or career.

Schedule specific days and times to devote to your internship/job search and stick with that schedule. 

Assess yourself and determine your favorite skills and their order of priority .

To get assistance in learning about your unique set of interests, personality, values and skills, visit the Fresno State Career Development Center in Thomas 103 and check out the resources available to your by clicking the Career Assessment menu item on the left.

Know in what kind of fields you would like to use those skills.   

Need assistance in refining your career options?  Visit Mary Willis in the Jordan College Advising & Career Development Center in Ag Science 110 or call 559.278.4019 to schedule an appointment.

Build your network.   

Start now to develop contacts in the industry area you want to pursue.  Sources of networking contacts include:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Faculty
  • Internship Providers
  • Former Employers
  • Fresno State Alumni
  • Fresno State’s Career Development Center
  • The Jordan College Advising & Career Development Center
  • Career Fairs
  • On-Campus Networking Events
  • Professional Association Meetings and Conferences
  • LinkedIn

Identify organization of interest in your preferred geographic locations .

Don’t know what organizations are out there?  Check out Buzzfile.com. While it won’t tell you if jobs are available, it will let you know who the employers are in any industry area and you can narrow your results by geographic location.  Click HERE to watch a video on how to make the most of Buzzfile.com. 

Be sure to explore small and medium organizations.  They employ nearly half the people in the United States.

Do thorough research on organizations before approaching them.

You need to be familiar the following:

  • The company’s major products, services or programs.
  • Key people in the organization and the organizational structure.
  • Size in terms of sales, people served and employees.
  • Key opportunities and/or challenges facing the organization.
  • The company culture.
  • The company’s competitors.
  • The industry as a whole

To get this information, use the following resources:

  • Visiting the company’s website
  • Viewing the company’s LinkedIn profile.
  • Follow the company through their social media - LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and even Pintrest.
  • Through your network: professors, friends who work at the company and alumni.
  • Google news items about the company.  When you do you Google search, click the “News” tab to get the best results.
  • Utilize websites like Glassdoor.com, Indeed.com and Vault.com.

Seek out the person who actually has the to power to hire you for the internship or job you want.    

Identify the head of the department or the organization where you want to intern or work.  While Human Resources contacts are great, they don’t make the hiring decisions.  Those in leadership potentially have the ability to create new positions or approve the development of internship program if one does not exist.  

Use your personal contacts to help you arrange to meet this person.

This is where your networking pays off.  If you’ve been diligent in creating your network, connecting with this person is very doable.  

When you approach this person you want to be very up front about your goal to obtain an internship or job.  If she or he tells you that nothing is available turn the meeting into an informational interview. Say something to the effect of “If I can’t get an internship (or job), I would love to get some wisdom.  Would you be open to scheduling a 20-30 minute meeting so I can learn more about your career path and what you would recommend I do as I pursue my career?”

If you present yourself well during this meeting and make a positive impression, the hiring manager may be interested in creating an opportunity for you or refer you to someone who has a current opportunity available.   At minimum, by making the right impression, you can be someone who is top of mind when the hiring manager does have an opening.  Employers prefer to hire people they already know rather than hiring a complete stranger.

Show that person that you can add value to their organization by assisting in solving their problems or challenges.  

Researching the organization and effectively communicating your skills, knowledge and experience in relation to their unique needs increases the likelihood that they will want you to join their team.

In addition to using the proactive and strategic internship and job search strategy described above, you can still look for opportunities via the Internet.  The disadvantage of just using the Internet to locate opportunities is that you will be competing with everyone else who is applying to those positions.  Your goal is to become a known (and sought after) quantity to the employer prior to applying, which will allow you to stand out from the crowd.

Additional Resources

Check out these web-based resources to locate internship and career opportunities:

Internship and Job Search Strategy Resources

Internship Opportunities

Internship Opportunities (General)

Agricultural Internships (General)

To find additional internship opportunities, conduct a Google Search using terms like, “Child Development Internships”, “Undergraduate Veterinary Internships”, etc..  It’s highly recommended that you also regularly visit the websites of organizations of interest to see an internship has been posted on the company’s career opportunities page.

Also there are sites that provide internship information in the following academic disciplines:

Agricultural Business Internships

Animal Science Internships

Agricultural Communication Internships

Child Development & Family Science Internships

Culinology Internships

Dietetic & Nutrition (Undergraduate) Internships

American Society for Nutrition - https://www.nutrition.org/our-members/students/opportunities-for-students/

Fashion Merchandising Internships

Plant Science Internships

Viticulture & Enology Internships

Know of another website that should be featured on these lists?  Email Mary Willis at mwillis@csufresno.edu and let her know.

Before pursuing any internship opportunity for academic credit, you must meet with the appropriate faculty member from your academic department to receive approval.

Career Opportunities

 Career Opportunities (General)

Agricultural Careers (General)

Animal Science Careers

Agricultural Communication Careers

Agricultural Education Careers

Child Development & Family Science Careers

Culinology Careers

Dietetic & Nutrition Careers

Fashion Merchandising Careers

Food Science Careers

Plant Science Careers

Viticulture & Enology Careers

Know of another website that should be featured on these lists?  Email Mary Willis at mwillis@csufresno.edu and let her know.