While most people associate February with the month of love and romance, here at Future Institute we think of it as a great month to start thinking about finding internships or part-time jobs for summer break. While it may seem early, you should start applying and securing a place to gain some career experience before graduating. Your degree may get you in the door of job interviews, but your experience proves that you can be a asset to the team. We’ve got some advice on where to start applying for internships and part-time jobs below.

1. Use the Internet
This may seem like obvious advice, but the Internet might seem overwhelming when you’re looking for a place to gain experience. There are so many sites dedicated to internship and job postings. Sometimes you need to narrow down your search and there are websites that compile the best opportunities for you. Additionally, your university or college might have a job and/or internship board online where local companies can post their opportunities for college students.

2. Apply to Big Name Companies
There are many “big name” companies that hire interns at their various locations across the U.S. and in other countries. Why not throw your hat in the ring? Some of these companies include Target and Disney. You can see the full list here. Even starting at the bottom of a big company can help your career and you could even get a job at the company after you graduate!

3. Start from the Ground Floor
It doesn’t matter where you start, just how you go from there. You may not be able to find an internship or part-time job in your career field, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t gain some experience before you have your degree. Many part-time jobs that may seem boring or not at all what you want to do with your career; however, that’s how you gain workplace experience and how you can get ahead after graduation. Take a look at a list of part-time jobs you can get over the summer.

4. No Matter How Small
Gaining job experience may not seem like a big deal, but to future employers it is. They want to see a handful of experiences on your resume. A new model of internships has been developed to help students gain experience and aid companies that may not be able to hire a full-time person or intern. These are “micro-internships,” which are job-related tasks that you can be hired to do individually and can be used on your resume. Future Institute is developing a similar program called FIRST.

If you’re local to the Chicago area and have access to a car, you may consider applying for Future Institute’s Communications Internship for some experience!

Come back to the Future Blog for more articles on college and career success!