Launch your Career

5 Steps to a Great Internship – Create Your Target Lists

Great internship

In order to secure a great internship, you have to do your homework. Where would you like to work, what company inspires you, what skills do you want to learn or leverage?  Answering these questions is key to finding the best internship. The second article in this series was all about identifying your goals.

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If you read that article and identified your goals (industry, responsibilities and career goals), it’s time for the next step, which is making a target list of the companies that will provide the most value for you. In addition to creating some lists, we’ve listed some great resources at the end of the article.

“Having an internship is one of the best ways for an ambitious college student to gain valuable experience in the working world, establish a network of professionals, bolster their resume, and, if they are lucky enough, make some money.

Interns have become much more than just the people who go to get coffee in the morning or file that paperwork that has been collecting dust for the past nine months.” – lendedu.com

Creating the target list of the companies that meet your goals takes a little research, and it’s probably easier to start with your industries and refine the list from there.

Researching Your Industry:

Depending on your major and your career goals, your “ideal” internship might actually span several industries; marketing is a good example (more on this below in “Researching Your Career”).

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Vault.com Industries Research –  Vault.com offers industry research on their site.  This link leads to the alphabetical listing of industries. Click on your industry and this will lead to an overview of the industry along with a bunch of information (like associated industries). Some of the content is locked, but you can join for free and have access to most of the locked information as well (some info requires a paid membership). You can search by name, industry, state, country, number of employees, rankings, etc. (or any combination). Copy down the names of the companies that interest you for your company list.



Industries at a Glance: The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has a comprehensive site on industries. Major industries are listed on the left-hand side of the screen with an alphabetical list center page. Clicking on any one industry leads to a comprehensive page with all of the data you will need to evaluate your industry.

Researching Your Companies:

Next is to make a list of your preferred companies from your industry list.

  • Lists of companies by industry – Wikipedia has a very good list of companies by industry. Find your industry, take a deep dive on your company and make a list of companies that meet your criteria.
  • LinkedIn Company Directory – A career article would not be complete if LinkedIn was not mentioned. Find your industry, find your location, find your company and add it to your list after you’ve done your review.
  • Vault.com Internship Research – This is an amazing list of available internships. At the top of the Vault site is a link to internships. Use this drop down to find the best internships or internship rankings (plus a lot more).

Internship Support Services:

Internship Resources for College Students – A bunch of great resources from Quintcareers.com, including links to how to find an internship, internship do’s and don’ts and a comprehensive list of college internship sites.

Internships, Apprenticeships, & Volunteer Opportunities – If you haven’t visited the My Perfect Resume in your quest for a job or summer internship then you’ve been missing one of the best career sites on the Internet. Known for their vast listings of career links, their Summer Intern section will not disappoint.  Starting with a list of Internships and Fellowships sites, the site lists additional resources for both study and non-study experience abroad. And, while getting paid would be nice, you should also consider looking at the volunteer opportunities sites listed here as well.

InternshipFinder – “Your gateway to student internship opportunities” is the tagline for this site. Student and recent grads will benefit from this site. There are both paid and unpaid opportunities to both build and leverage your career. This website is designed to give you all of the information that you need to be a successful intern. Lots of links and resources internship opportunities as well as resources, newsletters and industry-specific links.

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