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Video:When to Start Looking for Internships

with Christopher Berrien

When to start looking for internships depends on the industry and season, but it's always smart to be prepared and apply as early as possible. Get some professional advice on when to look for internships in this video from About.com.See Transcript

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Transcript:When to Start Looking for Internships

Hi, this is Christopher Berrien for About.com, and today we're going to talk about when to start looking for internships.

Prepare Before You Start Applying

Internship programs start at different times of the year. But there are a few constants, no matter what time of the year programs start. You want to be prepared with a list of internship programs you're interested in, and you should map out how your skill sets match their needs. If you're in school, you may want to meet with a career advisor early on to discuss a program, and how you can enhance your prospects with particular courses and study.

Applying for Summer Internships

Typically, the internships with the longest lead times tend to be those that start in the summer. You can expect them to want applications as early as the previous fall, so prepared to start burnishing your credentials as much as a year in advance. Summer internships tend to be especially popular as they're a great way to build your career during the summer hiatus.

You can expect a great deal of competition for internships that revolve around technical or financial industries, and they build in extra time to vet candidates. This is also true for government internship programs that require a background check.

Even if you don't apply to a very specialized or limited program, it's always a good idea to apply as early as possible for a summer internship program. The later you apply, the higher the chance that your application simply won't be considered. There's very little consistency between the way organizations handle internships, so don't take a chance. Get in early.

Applying for Spring and Fall Internships

For other times of the year, lead times may be a bit shorter, but don't leave too little padding. If you're looking for an autumn internship, think about initiating your search as early as January. If it's a spring internship, don't wait any longer than the end of September of the previous year.

If the time of year you want to perform an internship isn't particularly important to you, you may have better luck in the less-trafficked fall and spring seasons. There's no one period better than another to actually serve an internship. But do your homework to prep for an internship, no matter what time you're applying.

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