Want a summer internship? Start looking now

Two young men wearing white hard hats and looking at a binder

Higher education runs by the calendar: admissions deadlines, finals week, spring break. But if you’re looking to get ahead in a career, there’s also an internship season—and you can’t afford to miss it.

For most college-educated Americans, an internship has become an essential step into the job market. Today’s interns are tomorrow’s employees, as internships now make up a substantial percentage of all entry level jobs, and employers are more likely to hire successful interns for full-time jobs after graduation.

But while internships usually occur during the summer, the crucial decisions are usually made much earlier. Based on Burning Glass analysis of job postings, most summer internships are actually posted in February, and postings peak in March. After that, it’s all downhill, as you’ll see in this chart.

internship demand chart

That means you should be gearing up for your internship now.  But, like everything else in your education, even before you start applying for jobs, it pays to do your homework.   Employers often expect that prospective interns have already learned key technical skills.  So you will want to research the field that interests you. Some colleges and universities offer data on internships through their career offices, but even if your school doesn’t, you should already be looking over job boards, talking with professors, and finding out what skills are in demand. Fortunately, a lot of the skills in demand—such as Microsoft Excel or Adobe Creative Suite—can be picked up quickly.

So if you’re looking for an internship, you’d better start now. If you wait until after midterms, you may not be completely out of luck—but the odds are you’ll have to get used to that Shake Shack uniform.


About the Author
Matt Sigelman

Matt Sigelman

Matthew Sigelman is CEO of Burning Glass Technologies, a leading labor market analytics firm. For more than a decade, he has led Burning Glass in harnessing the power of data to deliver artificial intelligence technologies that have helped fill millions of jobs. Burning Glass data drives initiatives for more than a dozen state and national governments, as well as educational institutions and major employers. Matt is consulted frequently by national media, by researchers, and the White House. He served previously with McKinsey & Company and Capital One. He holds an A.B. from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from Harvard.


  1. Thomas 5 years ago

    This is interesting. I had thought that march would be too late for a summer internship. I better do more research!

  2. Melissa W 5 years ago

    This is very informative. The information really helped and lit a fire under me to begin applying for internships immediately. There are many open and I was able to pinpoint exactly the direction I wanted to take for the opportunities available.

  3. Victoria Bankowski 4 years ago

    I thank you for all of the information you have provided.

  4. Irene 4 years ago

    Great tips! It’s good to know the peak times for summer internship applications.

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