What are some thoughts that come to your mind when you think about summer? Freedom? Sleep? Late nights? But what about productivity or internships?

Dr. Heidi Campbell, a journalism and mass communication faculty member, said, “Summer internships are great because students are not constrained by academic schedules and have more freedom to work longer hours.”

According to Campbell, the majority of future employers are looking for employees with experience to back up the coursework of a college degree. When you show up for that first interview, having an established portfolio with letters of recommendation from internship supervisors can be invaluable.

So when is the right time to begin? Right away. Campbell gives a few suggestions for landing that internship.

Think Ahead

If you haven’t started planning ahead for this summer, Campbell encourages students to begin immediately. Thinking ahead by one full semester is ideal. If you wait until the last minute, the chances of your dream internship being taken will increase dramatically.

Ask for Help

Stop by Career Services to see what opportunities they are aware of for summer internships. They receive internship opportunities from all over the country every year.

Network, network, network

Most people have some kind of social media account, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Ideally, you have all three. Post on social media that you are looking for a particular internship opportunity.

“We’ve all heard the adage, ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,’” Campbell said. “Let your network help you find something spectacular.”

Personalize your search

Do you have a particular company in mind? Start there. Check their website  or email them for already-existing internships. Your ideal internship could be just a few clicks away.

Link to LinkedIn

Campbell encourages students who don’t have a LinkedIn profile to build one this week. It’s quick but useful. “LinkedIn is critical as you move forward into your career,” Campbell said.

Don’t underestimate prayer.

“Ask God for direction and then move forward,” Campbell said.  “Don’t just sit waiting for God to move. You make the calls and then see how God directs.”

In the end, it’s up to you. While there are many resources out there to assist you on your way to that dream internship, it won’t happen unless you decide to take action.