Career & Internship Services

Career Handbook

Internship and Job Search Strategies

There are many ways to look for an internship or job. The best approach is to use a number of strategies. Relying completely on only one strategy may be ineffective. Below are some of the popular strategies.



Talk to everyone you know to develop a list of contacts and leads. Announce your job or internship search to everyone and let them know what you want to do. Ask for information on jobs and companies and circulate your resume.

The majority of jobs are obtained through networking. You may learn of unadvertised openings. You may receive courtesy interviews. This often results in a closer match of your interests to a job.

Approximately 80% of openings are never advertised; therefore, networking is an important strategy for learning about possibilities.

A contact in itself is not enough to get you a job. You may feel like you've exhausted all leads without landing a job. It is hard to "put yourself out there."
  • Follow through on all leads.
  • Keep broadening your network of contacts.
  • Connect with you contacts on LinkedIn.
  • Attend meetings of organizations in your field and get involved.
  • Ask about volunteer opportunities with the organization.
  • Connect with people and build relationships. You are networking all the time. Ask questions, learn about other people and let them know about you.


Attend job and career fairs to network with recruiters and distribute copies of your resume. Talk with employers even if they many not be actively recruiting in your field of interest-contacts can generate job leads.

The easiest access to employers you may ever have. Takes a small amount of time to develop a network of contacts. You are guaranteed access to more than one employer of interest. You may get pre-selected for on-campus interviews. Student traffic can be heavy. Approaching employers can be intimidating without practice. Employers may just refer you to their websites. Positions may not be readily available.
  • Attend preparation workshops.
  • Obtain a list of companies in advance to create a plan of action.
  • Research employers attending.
  • Arrive early to maximize time.
  • Talk with a wide variety of employers.
  • Speak to employers independently rather than with friends.
  • Follow-up on leads and networking opportunities.


Use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites in your job search.

This allows you to create new contacts globally. Use to follow-up with contacts from in-person networking. You have to be very careful to present a professional image on all platforms. It takes time to create, maintain and update profiles with a consistent professional message.
  • Do not reveal too much personal information.
  • Have a professional review your profile(s).
  • Set privacy settings appropriately.


Use the University of Minnesota's online job and internship listing site. It is open to students and alumni from all campuses.

U of MN students and alumni have free access. You can post a resume so employers can find you in addition to searching the openings. You can apply directly for some openings. You receive notification of special events and see more information about recruiters attending fairs. Employers target U of MN students and alumni. You may be competing with a large number of applicants. It may be hard to set yourself apart.
  • Set up the "Job Agent" to receive notification about openings and events.
  • Sign-up for on-campus interviews.


Follow specific procedures to secure on-campus interviews.

One of the primary ways in which companies recruit for technical and business positions. May be less effective for non-technical and non-business candidates. Not all companies conduct on-campus interviews.
  • Find listings and sign-up for interviews using GoldPASS.


Search company websites for openings. Submit resumes online and apply using the companies' online systems.

You have access to actual openings worldwide. You need to know the names of companies. Not all openings may be posted. May be time consuming.
  • Use a variety of strategies to identify companies in your field.


Search online job banks for openings. Submit resumes online and post inquiries on job boards.

Consists of actual job openings. Many employers use a wide variety of job listing services. Many listings have free to low-cost access. You have worldwide geographic access. Often searchable by field, location and other criteria. You compete with large numbers of applicants. It is hard to set yourself apart. Ineffective means in times of economic downturn. Time consuming.
  • Check company websites for current information.
  • Use automatic e-mail function, job agent, if available.


Scan classified ads. Send resumes with cover letters tailored to specific job descriptions.

Involves minimal investment of time in identifying companies. Resume and cover letter are sent for actual job openings. You compete with large numbers of applicants. Hard to set yourself apart. May be ineffective in times of economic downturn. Time consuming.
  • Submit your application as early as possible.


Develop strong cover letters tailored to specific types of jobs and the needs of the companies and send them with resumes to selected companies.

This is a better approach than mailing generic letters with resumes. An investment of time and effort should merit stronger response from employers. This requires a significant investment of time in researching companies, writing cover letters and following-up with contacts.
  • Try to find out who is in charge of the area in which you want to work and send your materials to that person.
  • Great method when used in conjunction with networking.


Visit targeted companies and ask to see a person in a specific department. Submit resume, letter and application, if possible.

Your resume and application are on file with the company. The effort shows your interest. You may stand out and be more easily remembered. This requires a great deal of time to make a relatively small number of contacts.
  • Research companies prior to your visit. Ask for a specific person or ask about a specific type of job.


These agencies offer three types of employment in a variety of fields: contract, contract to hire and direct hire. The lengths of assignments vary. You contact an agency and someone may meet with you, review your resume, interview you and test your skills to match you with their openings.

Usually the services are free to job seekers; fees are paid by the employers. Agencies know about openings not advertised to the public. The job hunting is done by the agency, saving you time. You get the chance to "test the waters" at various companies and in types of positions with no long-term commitment. It gets your "foot in the door" and can lead to a permanent offer. A placement doesn't necessarily mean an ideal job at an ideal company. The work is not permanent so you may find that you go for periods without work. You may have to start at menial tasks. You need to adjust to a new work environment every time an assignment changes.
  • Find an agency that specializes in the area or field of employment in which you are interested.
  • Sign-up with more than one agency and be flexible with location, hours and duties.
  • Be selective when accepting assignments, but also be aware that if you turn down too many offers you are likely to stop getting called.