Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tips To Land An Internship At A Start-Up Or Small Business

Posted by Vickie Elmer

Summer work is showing up superbly this month.

Small companies and start-ups may just now be wondering how they will manage the vacation-heavy months of July and August or who’s going to help handle the surge in business. They’re developing posts that will show up this month; March is usually the peak month for internship job postings, according to job search site Indeed.com , which offers advice for would-be interns on its blog.

“Every day it’s something new” at a start-up company, said Daniel Aguiar, Santa Clara University’s executive director for entrepreneurship programs. Interns could end up taking on a broad array of duties – from assisting with the business plan to developing a website to sales calls with the CEO – if they work for a company with only a few paid staffers.

Here are some ideas from Aguiar on where to seek start-up and small company opportunities:
  • Head to business incubators and business parks. Incubators can house 20 to 100 start-ups and growing companies, so bring a lot of resumes along. Business parks may have dozens of prospects too, many of them below the radar.
  • Read up on who’s revving up. A company that has just landed an angel investor or some new funding may want some bright young talent. So will one with a major new client. So check the business journals, small business magazines and blogs, and watch the chamber and economic development newsletters for profiles and news that shows promise.
  • Look to lawyers and alumni associations. Both may be fertile grounds to identify small business owners and start-ups, Aguiar said.
Small businesses have been creating more jobs than the major ones recently.  For each of the last three months, small employers, those with fewer than 50 workers, have added 100,000 jobs, according to the ADP National Employment report. That’s way more than the larger companies with 500 and more workers. Small company job growth may be less obvious because it comes in ones or twos not 200 at a time, but the totals add up.

Understand that interning or working for a small company can feel very different than a huge company. Expect a start-up to be less structured and to offer less support than a major company. Most have no one handling human resources and the founders are probably working 70-hour weeks already. Plus they may have fewer forms and more personality, or quirks.

Start-ups don’t work for everyone, Aguiar said. One student told him: “It’s way too chaotic.”

It’s a great time to look for a summer internship – especially if you’re searching outside of the Fortune 500 and other giant companies.

Read The Rest Of The Glassdoor Article and More Advice

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