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In order to find and land an internship you really want, the timing of your internship search is important. Remember, you’re competing with other students for open positions, so if you delay your search, your ideal position may be filled before you even apply. 

Now, unfortunately, there’s no single correct answer for when you should start your internship search. The reason for this is because the application process will be different for every company. 

With this said, you have some work to do. 

You’ll want to reach out to the various companies that you’re interested in, and then find out more details about their respective internship application process. 

Make a simple spreadsheet, and then document a few different things about each company:

  • Name of company
  • Company website
  • Contact name
  • Contact phone number
  • How do you apply for an internship?
  • Application deadline

Once you have all of these details outlined, you’ll now be positioned to begin applying for positions within a specific schedule.

You may also be interested in "Internship Mastery" Has Officially Launched

When To Start Your Research

Although I said there’s no single correct answer for when to start your internship search, you need to start your company research (outlined above) early. Ideally, you’ll do this research one year ahead of when you’d like to have an internship.  

If you’re looking for a summer internship next summer, then you need to start your research during (or immediately after) the current summer. 

In order to have success, you need to put in the work. And, this means being organized and proactive rather than waiting until the last minute to research and find possible openings. 

The longer you wait, the fewer opportunities you’ll have available.  

If you’re already behind schedule, no worries, not all is lost. 

Go through the same research process and find any companies who still have internship openings available. 

There are generally companies that will still be looking to fill intern roles just a few months out from the start of the internship. Some interns back-out on their acceptance, and this re-opens positions. Other companies are behind in their internship hiring process.

So, just because you may not be doing your research one year ahead doesn’t mean you should give up hope and not do the research at all.

The Bottom Line

Let's keep this simple...

The earlier the better—but better late than never—when researching internship openings.


Ryan has been heavily involved in the world of Information Technology and entrepreneurship since the early 2000s. From small business consulting to Fortune 500 IT leadership, Ryan has a wide array of tech industry knowledge. Ryan has his BBA and MBA from the University of Iowa. Connect with Ryan on Twitter or Instagram.

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