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Start planning now for summer jobs and internships

If you're interested in a summer job or internship, start your search early, spend some time getting connected and set goals for what you want to achieve. These resources will help.

The return to campus means more opportunities to connect — and some of those connections can help build a path to internships and jobs. Fall and winter quarters are excellent times to start looking for internships or jobs for June.

“Employers are already thinking about and actively planning for next summer, and they want to recruit Stanford students,” said James Tarbox, executive director of BEAM, Stanford Career Education.

In fact, in some industries, recruiting for next summer’s internships and full-time jobs is already in full swing. 

All students who want a job or internship next summer can start their search now. For some jobs, this means actually applying; for others, laying the groundwork.

Investigate possible career options

Students who are unsure about their career path can use assessments to guide them. Outside research — from regional business journals or the Labor Department’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, for example — can offer insight into promising professions. 

Students should consider the practical issues involved in internships: Will the internship be in person or virtual? Where will interns need to live for the summer?

“I’m at a juncture where I’ve been in discussion with several entities in different locations, and I’m trying to make a decision about what will be more feasible,” said Annie Ostojic, class of ’24 B.S. & M.S. in electrical engineering.

Graduating seniors can include internships as part of their career planning portfolio – post-graduation internships are becoming more common in some industries and can lead to full-time positions.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to test the culture, get additional experience and try something before they commit,” said Jennifer Rowland, associate director for employer engagement at BEAM

Understand the recruiting cycle  

“I’ve interned in academic, corporate, and government, and every single cycle is different,” Ostojic said. 

Some industries — such as finance, banking and accounting — are very structured, and companies tend to know far in advance how many jobs they will need to fill. These companies may have already made job offers for next summer, particularly to students who completed internships with them last summer. 

In other industries, hiring won’t take place until this winter or even later. For these industries, fall is a good time to start preparing and networking. See this chart for a sense of the recruiting calendars for various industries. Note that with the pandemic, these schedules have and will continue to change — but they provide helpful insight into how university recruiting works.

“There are definitely recruiting cycles, and it’s important to understand that,” Rowland said. “But it’s also important not to get discouraged. Even if there are those cycles, you will find exceptions throughout the year.”


The timing can make the internship or job hunt challenging for students who are interested in exploring different industries. For example, Ostojic is interested in industries ranging from biomedical to financial tech. “It’s important to have internships to explore both, but those are on two very different recruiting cycles,” she said. 

Build a professional network

Connecting to professional communities now will likely have productive results later. Informational interviews are a good place to start because they give you access to professionals who offer valuable insights into different career possibilities. Follow-up is important after these interviews to share successes, ask questions and probe for career leads.  

“The main way I have learned about internships has been through networking, whether in person or virtual,” Ostojic said. 

Joining a student chapter of a professional association is one good avenue for building a peer network and learning about potential career paths. Student organizations can also be helpful since they often bring to campus alumni and industry professionals as speakers where connections can be made in a smaller venue. The Stanford Alumni Mentoring program, called SAM, is a great source of alumni who can offer career advice and insights. LinkedIn is another way to find alumni who work in particular industries. 

Make the most of Handshake

Although it’s important to look for job and internship listings in a variety of places, Handshake is particularly important because it is the digital portal that Stanford uses to make students aware of internships and job postings, as well as events that feature employers.  

“There are an unprecedented number of jobs and internships being posted to Handshake,” Rowland said. “It’s the highest we have seen for the past three years. There are definitely opportunities out there.”


An up-to-date and publicly available Handshake profile is critical to any search: Employers see profiles only of the students who have completed their profiles and made them public on Handshake. 

“The employers that come into Handshake are looking for students or recent alumni,” Rowland said. “It is the most targeted of all the aggregated sites.”

Update job search tools

For students whose job searches haven’t started yet, fall and winter quarters are productive times to make sure all the pieces are in place for a successful search in the winter or spring. 

This includes creating an up-to-date resume, LinkedIn profile, and Handshake profile, as well as a basic cover letter that can be customized for each role. 

“Students should be ready with their tools so that when an opportunity becomes available, they can move quickly and apply,” Rowland said. 

It’s also a good time to review class projects and practice talking about them for interviews, Ostojic said. “It’s important to be able to discuss projects in an interview to prove your skills.”

“The basic take-away here is to start early, get connected, and understand what you want to achieve in your internship or job search,” Tarbox said. “Connect with BEAM, Stanford Career Education via Handshake to schedule an appointment with a career coach today!”