By Alyssa Olvera
You have your resume ready, but it's winter – an internship "off-season." Almost every company offers internships that run through fall, summer, and spring, but many students don’t think of looking for winter internships. However, if your school is on a quarter system, you’ll be searching for ways to gain experience during the winter.
Winter internships are a different beast than summer ones. Let’s talk about the nuances of why they're different, where to find them, how to secure one, and what to do if you don’t.
What is a Winter Internship?
Winter internships can be as short as a couple of weeks to four months long and held sometime between December and March. Oftentimes companies do not label these listings as a “Winter Internship” which can confuse students, but they are out there!
During shorter internships, time is spent on training and acclimating you to their work environment, similar to a summer crash course pertaining to that specific role. If time permits, they will assign you to smaller-scale projects for hands-on experience.
Another distinguishing factor is that these internships are typically unpaid, or if paid, it is with a low one-time stipend toward the end of the internship. We understand that this could be a deal-breaker for some, but then again, these are shorter internships overall.
Every winter internship is different, but the functionality of the internship boils down to how long the internship is and the company you work for. Be sure to thoroughly check the internship description to see if what they offer works for you.
How do I find a Winter Internship?
A majority of these listings are posted during the month of October, but if your situation allows it, start to look five months in advance, or even sooner!
Visit your college’s career center, and if possible, visit a mentor who specializes in your specified field. Let them know you’re looking for an internship. This way, you’ll have extra eyes searching for you.
And don’t be afraid to do the same with your professors. Remember, they were once in your shoes and probably know effective methods to use when searching for specific internships. They might be your best bet to provide insider advice!
While searching, it is important to keep in mind that larger companies often place their internship and career portals on a separate website specifically created for interested internship and job applications. For example, here are the internship pages for Spotify, Meta, and TikTok.
Still don’t know what positions to search for with your skillset? PathMatch offers a free assessment to help you find jobs that you may not know even existed that perfectly match your passions and skills.
How do I land that Winter Internship without connections?
Now let’s talk about how to secure that internship.
No connections? No problem. Social media such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are all the craze for job hunting and building your network authentically. Create a professional account where you post projects you work on that contribute to your portfolio, and don’t be afraid to show your personality as well!
Once that is all set up, follow company recruiters and team managers’ professional accounts. Sometimes they may post that they are looking for extra help through opportunities that just opened up, so you'll have firsthand access to opportunities that others may not have seen, especially if it is during an “off season” internship. If they connect back with you or interview you, they’ll be able to see that you have already been connected with them since the beginning. This shows you hold a great amount of interest for the company, leveraging you as an applicant.
Your dream boss doesn’t have a professional account? Join Facebook groups that post internships in your specified field! Often, many department heads join groups such as these to post listings from the comfort of their personal Facebook account. Commenting on their Facebook post is another great way to indirectly connect with a potential boss!
What if I don’t land that internship?
As a college student, it seems like internships are all anyone ever talks about, but don’t be discouraged if you can’t land one immediately. You are not defined by the internship opportunities you have or don't have. Internships are not the only way to gain experience, here are a few pro-tips to follow:
- Continue to build upon your skills with independent projects
- Connect with your professors and collaborate with them on projects they are working on
- Join research projects
- Join student organizations. Trust us. Some of these student organizations are more prestigious than those internships you are applying for!
Use PathMatch to help you find resources and internships based on your skill sets. Take our career match assessment today and land your dream internship tomorrow!