Introduction

According to a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, 12.6% of young college graduates are underemployed (meaning that the jobs they hold don't require a college degree). If you want to avoid that fate, you shouldn't just rely on your college degree - even if it's from a prestigious university. A study from 2014 indicates that employers pay closer attention to a candidate's work history and skills over his or her college education.

The age-old question is this: How do I get job experience when every job description seemingly requires said job experience? Thankfully there is a solution - internships are a great way to bridge the gap between education and experience. In fact, students who graduate with internship experience are about 15% more likely to get a job offer than graduates who didn't complete an internship. Additionally, the average job offer rate to interns of 72.7% in 2016 is the highest it's been since the peak of the pre-recession market.

If you've spent any time looking, you are aware that finding a quality internship that will launch you into your chosen career isn't quite as easy as it sounds. Just googling "internships" and your major can lead to a serious headache - not only is there a ton of internships out there, there's also a lot of sites that require you to sign-up and create a profile before you can apply for that one internship you found.

Starting your search by choosing an internship platform is a great idea, but if you choose the wrong one you could end up settling for a sub-optimal internship due to a lack of selection on your chosen platform. Conversely, you could also end up searching for that one needle in a huge haystack if your platform doesn't offer quality tools to filter through the thousands of available internships.

Our Recommendations

Since we know how valuable that perfect internship can be to your career, we created this guide to identify the best internship platforms for students.


Topics We'll Cover in This Guide

  • The Basics of Student Internship Platforms
  • What Students Should Know Before Using Internship Platforms
  • How we Ranked the Best Student Internship Platforms
  • The Best Student Internship Platforms of 2017
  • Niche Internship Platforms
  • What Kind of Internship You Should be Looking for
  • How to Land a Great Summer Internship
  • How to Avoid Internship Scams
  • A Full Walk-through of our Methodology and Metrics

What Students Should Know Before Choosing an Internship Platform

Not Every Posting is Legitimate

While Internship Platforms do their best to eliminate internships that are posted by scammers, they can't catch them all. College sStudents are specifically targeted in many cases due to their relative lack of skepticism and desperation for a good internship. Check out our guide below on how to avoid internship scams to learn more.

Not Every Internship is Created Equal

Having any kind of internship on your resume can definitely be helpful. However, there are some internships that can really pay off when it comes time to look for a job in your chosen career. You can read our guide below to learn more about what kind of internship you should be looking for, but for now, know:

  • There are advantages to paid internships that go beyond just the paycheck
  • The company you intern with matters
  • The job description is important
  • There are internships that are designed to primarily take advantage of free/low-cost labor not to help you develop the skills and experience you need to get a great job after graduation

Features of Great Student Internship Platforms

  • Tons of Search Filters
  • Original Postings
  • A Huge Selection of Internships
  • Quality Tools (such as a good resume uploading tool, the ability to save searches, optimization for mobile devices)
  • Additional Resources (to empower the internship seeker)

How We Ranked the Best Student Internship Platforms

Cut List

We started by collecting a list of platforms by searching via Google and other third party reviews - we ended up with a list of 20 companies. Since we don't want to recommend platforms that aren't useable by everyone or those that don't provide a minimum functionality, we cut the following platforms:

Industry-Specific Platforms



Platforms that Require a Paid Subscription


Platforms that Didn't Provide an Internship Search Filter



Platforms that Only Offered Internships in Limited Locations



Platforms that aren't Useable by Everyone



List of Contenders

When that process was complete, we were left with the following six companies to research in-depth:






Core Metrics

Our next step was to determine the most important features of student internship platforms. We sorted these into four categories and used them as our "core metrics." (Full explanations on why we chose these core metrics are explained in: Full Methodology and Metric Walkthrough)

  1. Search Functionality: How well does the search engine function? Are the search results helpful?
  2. Internship Availability: How many internships are available?
  3. Tools: Do they have a good selection of tools that will help to find quality internships?
  4. Additional Resources: Do they have additional resources that will guide and educate readers as they search for internships?

Sub-metrics

We then assigned sub-metrics to each core metric to allow for accurate scoring across the six platforms. Each sub-metric was given a score between 0-10 (some were scaled between 0-10, while others were a "yes or no" answer which resulted in either a 0 or a 10). The sub-metrics were then averaged together and the core metric scores were assigned with the highest average of the sub-metrics receiving a "10" and the lowest a "0."

Here's the core metrics with each sub-metric attached:

Search Functionality

  1. Search Filtering: Is there a filter for paid and unpaid internships? How many job-type filters and other applicable filters are available?
  2. Internships: Is there a consistent job description layout? Can you view the job descriptions and complete the initial application without being re-directed to another site?
  3. Company Profiles: Are there detailed company profiles that rate and review employers and list their available internship opportunities?

Internship Availability

  1. Total Internships: How many total internships are available in the U.S.?
  2. Total Internships in Key Cities: How many total internships are available in 9 key cities?
  3. Unique Internships: Are there exclusively unique internships listings, or are there listings that are imported from another platform?

Tools

  1. Resume Uploading: Is there a functional tool for uploading your resume?
  2. Resume Builder: Is there a tool that facilitates building a new resume?
  3. LinkedIn Compatibility: Can you import your information from, and link to, your LinkedIn profile?
  4. Saved Searches: Can you save customized searches?
  5. Custom Notifications: Can you set up customized email notifications when new internships matching a specific criteria become available?
  6. Sign Up with Facebook/Google: Can you easily sign-up with Facebook or Google, or do you have to create a new profile from scratch?
  7. Optimized for Mobile Devices: Is there a mobile-optimized site?

Additional Resources

  1. Internships Related Blog: Is there a regularly updated blog with content that relates to internships?
  2. Social Media Integration: Can you interact with the platform on social media?
  3. Resume Building Guide: Is there a guide for building resumes?
  4. Interview Guide: Are there resources to help prepare you for interviews?
  5. Internship Search Guidance: Are there resources to help you pair you with an internship that will be right for you?

Overall Student Internship Platform Scoring

To get the overall score for each plan, we weighted each core metric's score and added them together. The reason for "weighting" the scores is to reflect the importance of each core metric. For instance, "internship availability" is much more important than "additional resources." We applied weights by assigning a percentage to each core metric, and then multiplying its score by the corresponding fraction. For example, a core metric that was weighted at 30% would have its score multiplied by .30. (Scoring details will be provided in the later section: Full Methodology and Metric Walkthrough)

Here are the assigned weights for our core metrics:

What We Didn't Include in Our Metrics

Ease of Use

Since grading how easy each platform is to use is so subjective in nature, we couldn't include it in our metrics - what we like might be an annoying inconvenience for you. What we did include was whether each platform had certain tools that make it easier to use.

Internship Quality

Theoretically, the quality of the internships available would be more important than the overall volume. For instance, let's say one platform had 100 available internships listed on a given search, but they were all unpaid and mostly just attempts to get free labor. Meanwhile, a second platform had 50 available internships for that same search, but they all were with respectable companies and included compensation. In that scenario, the second platform's search results would be more valuable, even though there were fewer results. Unfortunately, there's no way to grade the overall quality of a platform's internships.

Drawbacks to our Reviewing Process

Smaller Sample Size

Because we required that all of the platforms we reviewed be available to everyone, we didn't consider some platforms that could be useful for certain groups of people. For instance, if you are interested in interning for the U.S. Government, than USAJOBS is a platform that might be perfect for you. However, since it doesn't list internships that are useful for everyone, we didn't include it in our review. For more information check out our section below: Niche Platforms.

The Best Student Internship Platforms of 2017

First Place: Indeed

  • Overall Score: 9.0
  • Best For: Most search tools and biggest selection of internships

Indeed is the largest job-search platform out there, so it stands to reason that it also has the largest selection of internships. This platform does a great job of allowing you to search for internships, but it has basically zero educational materials. It sits squarely in the "ultra-functional, no-frills" category.

Indeed had a couple search functions that really caught our eye. The first is its option to filter out results from staffing agencies. The second was the ability to search for internships that were posted today, in the last 2 days, this week, etc…. Overall, Indeed is clearly the superior internship platform - it scored the highest in our top three core metrics.

Using this platform to search for internships is pretty straightforward: from the site's homepage click Advanced Job Search and select "internships" in the job type drop-down menu. From there, simply select the location that you want to search and apply any keywords or filters that are applicable.

Indeed's Core Metric Scores:

  • Search Functionality: 10
  • Internship Availability: 10
  • Tools: 10
  • Additional Resources: 0

Second Place: Glassdoor

  • Overall Score: 6.5
  • Best For: In-depth reviews of each company

Not only is Glassdoor a quality second choice overall, it has a unique feature that really sets it apart from the competition and makes it a great resource. It provides in-depth profiles of each company including former and current employee reviews. Other features of the company profiles include a 0-5 star rating, general information about the employer, and even pictures of the workplace environment in some cases. Whether or not you use this as your primary internship platform, it's definitely a resource that should be used when researching the company offering you an internship.

Besides Glassdoor's helpful company profiles, it also performed well in all of our core metrics. It placed second in Internship Availability, but wasn't too far behind Indeed which had about 4,000 more internship listings in the US. Its weakest performance was in Search Functionality - it lacked a few helpful filters such as a paid/unpaid filter. That's why it scored poorly in the sub-metric "Search Filtering." However, it did perform really well in the other two sub-metrics in Search Functionality (more info on that below).

Overall, Glassdoor is a solid choice and a great resource. It doesn't have the absolute most internships and doesn't have quite as many filters as Indeed, but its company profile feature mostly makes up for that lack.

To search for internships on Glassdoor, start by inputting keywords and your desired location in search engine on its homepage. On the results page, there's an option to apply filters - use the "job type" drop-down menu to filter the results for internships. From there you can also apply other useful filters.

Glassdoor's Core Metric Scores:

  • Search Functionality: 5
  • Internship Availability: 8
  • Tools: 6.7
  • Additional Resources: 7.5

Third Place: Internships.com

  • Overall Score: 6.1
  • Best For: Great performance in Additional Resources

As the name implies, Internships.com is specifically designed for students who are looking for internships. For that reason, its student-friendly design has a lot of resources and educational material for prospective interns. One example is its "internship predictor tool" which is a basic personality test that gives you insights into which kind of internships might be a good fit for you.

Internships.com's biggest drawback is its smaller amount of internship listings. It had the fourth most internships with about 14,000 fewer than Indeed in the USA. While Looksharp had a few more internships overall, Internships.com beat out Looksharp in Internship Availability since its postings were unique - Looksharp mostly just imports listings from Indeed.

If you are looking for additional help with what kind of internship to look for, or resume and interview tips, Looksharp is a valuable resource to take advantage of. However, we don't recommend using it as your sole platform to search for internship listings.

Internships.com's Core Metric Scores:

  • Search Functionality: 5
  • Internship Availability: 6
  • Tools: 6.7
  • Additional Resources: 7.5

Niche Internship Platforms

There's a number of Internship Platforms that fall into the "niche" category since they don't cater to everyone. Because of that, we didn't evaluate them across our core metrics. That being said, these platforms could be a good tool to use alongside one of our top picks if you happen to be a member of their target audience.

Internship Platforms for Women

  • InternQueen: This platform caters exclusively to young women looking to get their careers started.
  • Her Campus: This platform is specifically designed for female college students.

Internship Platforms for the Media and Writing Industries

  • Mediabistro: While this platform doesn't seem to have a large volume of internship listings, it could be helpful for students who are looking for internships relating to a career in writing, graphic design, social media, etc….
  • Ed2010: Ed2010 is exclusively for those looking for writing or editing opportunities.

Internship Platforms for Government Jobs

  • USAJOBS: If a career with the federal government appeals to you this platform could be right for you, as it provides an excellent way to get an internship which could be converted into a full-time position in the future.

Internship Platforms for Overseas Internships

If you are looking for a chance to travel and see the world while also getting valuable internship experience, then these platforms might be right for you.

Note: While some of these internships could potentially offer compensation, the cost to interning overseas is considerable. Both platforms have resources to help you decide if this kind of opportunity is right for you and ideas to help you fund your adventure.

Here are the platforms that are exclusively designed to match students with internships overseas:

Internship Platforms for Internships in Scenic or Desirable Locations

  • CoolWorks: This platform is quite unique as it lists internships by location - but not by major city as most platforms do. Instead, Coolworks identifies scenic and desirable locations that appeal to specific types of people, and then lists jobs and internships in those locations. For instance, you might find an internship with the forest service in Yosemite or an internship with the tourism agency in Maui on this site.

Internship Platforms for Students Attending Participating Universities

  • Handshake: This platform isn't just designed for students, you are actually required to attend a participating university to view its internship listings. The platform works directly with the career center for each university, so your career advisor is the only one who can give you access to the platform. For those who have access, the platform is a potentially great resource to take advantage of.

What Kind of Internship Should I be Looking For?

The following recommendations are just that - recommendations. The only person that can decide if an internship is right for you is you. That being said, the best internships will share some or all of the following qualities.

Paid Internships

Compensation can take two forms: paychecks and college credit. Whether you are interested in either form of currency, there are even better reasons to prioritize paid internships over those that don't send you a check. The first reason is that the hiring rate for interns that are paid is substantially higher than the rate for unpaid interns. Possible reasons for this include that paid internships tend to include more responsibilities that better translate to a paid position.

Another reason to consider a paid internship is that paid interns usually spend a higher percentage of their time on job duties that relate to their major, while unpaid interns tend to spend more time on things like clerical duties.

A Recognizable Company

Choosing a company that has a high degree of name recognition in its industry can help you to land a position later down the road as it tends to make your resume stand out. When HR departments are scanning through a huge stack of resumes, an application with an internship at Microsoft is more likely to catch attention than one with internship experience at Joe Computer Lab.

Another possible benefit down the road is that employers might take a longer look at your application if they know that you are employable. If you've already passed through another well-known company's employment screening process, hiring managers are more willing to invest resources into hiring you, since they have more confidence that you won't be disqualified by a pesky DUI, etc....

Job Duties Relating to your Major

This is perhaps the most important factor to consider when looking for an internship. Of course, any internship could help boost your resume (especially if it's currently looking pretty thin), but an internship with relevant job duties is much more helpful than one with duties that are mostly unrelated to your major. For instance, "project managing" is much more marketable to potential employers than "filing."

A high percentage of major-related job duties will also give you hands-on experience and help you develop new skills. Resume building shouldn't be your only objective - learning and developing new skills is also very important. It can also help you decide if your current career path is right for you.

Another benefit is that the company you intern with will be, at the worst, a potential networking opportunity, and at the best, a potential employer after college. Developing connections with those in your chosen career is always a good thing.

It's always important to know what you're getting yourself into, so make sure to ask for a full list of your job responsibilities and expectations before accepting an internship.

10 Steps to Landing a Great Summer Internship

If you thought that you could get a quality summer internship by doing a quick search and emailing a couple resumes a month before your desired start date, you are going to be disappointed. Great internships are very valuable and, just like anything else that's valuable, they take hard work to find. That being said, with some hard work, planning ahead, and persistence, there's more than likely a great internship out there that you can take advantage of this summer.

The following 10 steps should give you a head-start on finding a great summer internship:

  1. Start Early

  2. According to a study conducted by NACE, employers begin recruiting interns eight months before the internship start date. Of course, the early bird gets the worm - the earlier you start the better chance you have to land a killer internship this summer.

  3. Identify Potential Internships

  4. While this process should include utilizing an internship platform, there are other tools you can use. Consider utilizing your network - do you know someone, who knows someone that works at a great company that is looking for an intern this summer? Another resource to take advantage of is your school's career services. Many employers contact schools to ask if they can recommend students for potential internships, so getting on your career counselor's radar could lead to a quality internship.

    Consider creating two lists of potential internships: the first will be your top choices that are most appealing, and the second will be internships you would consider taking if you can't find something better. While you obviously want to chase those that best satisfy your criteria, it's always helpful to have a backup plan in case your top choices don't work out.

  5. Fine-Tune (or Create) your Resume

  6. There are a ton of helpful tools out there to help you make sure your resume is up to snuff. Here are a couple tips:

    • If you haven't created a resume (or if your resume is from the Dark Ages, aka 2012) start with a template and go from there.
    • Tweak your resume to reflect the experience and qualities that an employer in your chosen field will be looking for.
  7. Gather References

  8. You should try and gather a list of 3 or 4 quality references. Remember to ask permission and inform your references that you are listing them, so they can be prepared to give you a good recommendation. If you don't have enough references from previous employment, non-profit experience or professors can be utilized.

  9. Create a Cover Letter Template

  10. While each cover letter should be personalized, creating a template now can save a lot of time later. When crafting a cover be sure there are no typos as that can be a huge turnoff to some employers.

  11. Get Advice

  12. Your campus career counselor is a great resource for you to take advantage of. Try to schedule an appointment (rather than just walking into the office) so you can be sure to get plenty of one-on-one time. Also, make sure to bring your application portfolio with you - the portfolio should include a resume, cover letter, and list of references.

    You may have other connections that can be a big help in guiding your search as well. Consider buying an older family member or friend coffee and asking for their advice - especially if they completed a summer internship before.

  13. Sensor your Social Media

  14. This is a bigger deal than you might think. According to an article in Time, 93% of hiring managers will use social media to screen a potential hire - 55% of the time they reconsider a candidate based on what they find. They tend to look for things like:

    • References to Illegal Drugs
    • Sexual Posts
    • Posts about Guns
    • Posts about Alcohol

    Think about how you want potential employers to view you, and then make sure your social media accounts reflect that same image.

  15. Apply

  16. When the time comes to apply, consider the following tips:

    • Put in applications to all of your top choices, not just your favorite.
    • When submitting multiple applications in the same sitting, pay attention to the details - it's easy to get job titles and company names confused when you start copying and pasting between applications.
    • Keep a record of which internships you've applied for and when you sent the application.
  17. Follow Up

  18. The first rule to following up is to check any correspondence you've had with the company to see if they gave you a date when you could expect to hear back. If a date was given, make sure you wait until after that date to follow up.

    When you get ready to follow up, make sure you remember that your objective is not to secure the internship, but to get an interview. Specifically asking for an interview is usually a good idea. When you do, send a short follow-up email - make sure to attach another copy of your resume and cover letter for easy reference.

    If there's a specific internship that you are super interested in, a short follow-up call can make the difference in getting an interview. Rather than simply calling the HR department, identify and call the hiring manager.

  19. Get Ready for the Interview

  20. Securing an interview is the hardest part, so make sure you don't mess it up by walking in unprepared. Be ready to answer the types of questions that the interviewer is likely to ask. Also, make sure to have a list of questions to ask. Remember, you aren't just trying to land the internship, you are also interviewing the company to determine whether this opportunity is right for you.

    Ask questions that have to do with:

    • Specific job duties
    • Working environment
    • Who you'll be reporting to

    Summary

    While there are many aspects of yourself that you can't easily change (work history, personality, etc...), you can control how hard you are willing to work to find a great summer internship. While the first few applications are going to be tedious, once you've been through the process a couple of times, it does get easier - so hang in there! Putting in the work now will help to ensure that you get the best possible internship this summer.

    How to Avoid Internship Scams

    The first thing you should know is that scams are a legitimate concern. Job (and internship) seekers are increasingly more desperate due to a ultra-competitive job which makes them more susceptible to scams. Another factor to consider is that college students tend to be targeted by scams since they don't have as much job-search experience. While internship platforms do their best to filter out scams, scammers do utilize these platforms to snare unsuspecting students.

    The best case scenario is that you waste some or all of your summer, the worst case scenario could mean you losing hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Take a look at the profiles of a few common scams and the danger signs, then make sure you are doing your due diligence to avoid them.

    Types of Scams

    Pay Up-Front Scams

    These type of scams will try to convince you to pay them or someone else money for some legitimate sounding reason. Sometimes they will ask you to deposit a check into your account, keep a portion of the funds for yourself, and then pay a third party from your account. The scammer usually tries to get your to overlook the abnormality of the practice by appealing to your understandable desire to make a larger sum of money than you thought was possible.

    Deferred-Payment Scams

    Sometimes a scam can be as simple as an attempt to con you into working for free. The idea is that you will be willing to work for an extended period of time without seeing a paycheck due to the fact that they are promising to "pay you extra for your trouble." Positions that require you to work from home are especially susceptible to this scam. You should expect to be paid at least bi-weekly or after you complete the first project.

    Cheap-Labor Scams

    These are more common and might not be considered an outright scam by some. They are characterized by employers that misrepresent your job duties or likely compensation. These scammers typically quote ridiculous amounts of money that could potentially be made without explicitly stating your guaranteed wage. Pay careful attention to sales or labor "internships" that are really just low-paying jobs disguised as "great internship opportunities." Remember that you want to target internships that have job duties directly relating to your major.

    Danger Signs

    The most important rule is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is - especially when it comes to compensation amounts. A good question to ask yourself is, "Would I pay someone that much to do this job?"

    Pay close attention to the following list of danger signs so you can know when to be concerned:

    • An offer you didn't seek out is sent to your personal email address
    • Any sort of fee is requested upfront
    • There's an offer or promise of employment made before a legitimate interview
    • The employer's place of business is at a residential address
    • The compensation is unrealistically high
    • The employer is "out of the country" and wants to hire you sight-unseen
    • You can't find verifiable information about the company online
    • The contact is overly eager to "close the deal", or they pressure you to take the internship on the spot

How to Avoid Scams

The following rules should help you steer clear of most scams, but remember to always approach any internship opportunity with a healthy skepticism.

  • Don't accept before an interview: While a phone interview is not optimal (video chat is a better alternative), it can be necessary in some situations if a face-to-face interview is not reasonable. However, an exchange of emails is never an interview.
  • Research the company: This cannot be stressed enough - the majority of scams could be avoided if there was a simple Google search with the name of the company and the word "scam." Additionally, you can utilize sites like Glassdoor and Rat Race Rebellion to read reviews and verify the legitimacy of the internship.
  • Don't give out sensitive information too early: Obviously, when the time comes to accept the job you will have to give your personal information, but don't give out sensitive information, like your driver's license number or social security number, before you are ready to accept the job. In some situations, a background check may be required, and you may have to give out some information before your first day. In that case, make sure to verify the legitimacy of the company that performs the background check and that they are working with the company you are applying for.
  • Get a second opinion on a suspect internships: Your college's career center is in a great position to instantly recognize scams. If you have questions, ask them first. Also ask wise, experienced friends or family members for their input. If you find yourself saying, "This sounds amazing, but something doesn't seem quite right," go with your gut and get a second opinion.

Full Methodology and Metric Walkthrough

Summary of Filtering Process

  • We started with 20 platforms
  • We eliminated 14 platforms that:
    • Are Industry-Specific
    • Require a Paid Subscription
    • Don't Provide an Internship Search Filter
    • Offer Internships in Limited Locations
    • Aren't Usable by Everyone

    That left us with a list of six platforms to research and compare:

Summary of Our Scoring Process

  • We determined our four core metrics
  • We established 18 sub-metrics to score our core metrics
  • We graded each sub-metric from 0-10
  • We determined the overall average for each group of sub-metrics
  • We assigned each core metric a score between 0-10 (based on the average score of the sub-metrics)
  • Finally, we took each plan's core metric score and applied its weight to determine the plan's overall score

Examples of Our Scoring Process

How We Scored Our Core Metrics

The scoring for "Tools" illustrates how we assigned the scores for our core metrics:

  1. We ranked each program based on its performance and assigned a score based on its numerical rank
  2. There were four different scores given out for this core metric (three plans had the same sub-metric average)
  3. We divided the scores up into 4 equal parts between 0-10 with a "3.33" difference between each.
  4. The lowest scoring platform was "0", the second lowest was "3.3", the third lowest platforms were "6.7", and the highest was 10.

Applying Weights to Our Core Metrics

We applied "weights" to our core metrics to indicate each core metric's overall importance in determining the overall quality of the platform. For instance, "Additional Resources" was only given a 10% weight, while "Tools" was given a 30% weight.

Here's how that process works:

  1. If a plan scores a "6" in "Search Functionality" then we would multiply 6 by .4 (Search Functionality is weighted at 40%)
  2. In this example, the platform would score 2.4 in Search Functionality
  3. We then add each core metric's weighted score together to get the platform's overall score (theoretically, if a platform got a "10" in every core metric then its overall score would be 10 as well)

Internship Availability Scoring for Glassdoor

To better illustrate this process, take a look at how we scored the core metric, "Internship Availability," for Glassdoor.

  1. We started by gathering data
    1. We conducted searches directly on Glassdoor's site
    2. We did a general search for internships in the entire United States
    3. We did individual searches for internships in 9 key cities
      • Atlanta
      • Chicago
      • Dallas
      • Denver
      • Los Angeles
      • New York City
      • Seattle
      • San Francisco
      • Washington D.C.
    4. We paid close attention during those searches to see whether any results came up that redirected us to another site (to verify whether the results were unique, or simply importing results from another search engine)
  2. We added the number of internships from each key city together
  3. We completed the research for each sub-metric
    • Total Internships: 41,378
    • Total Internships in Key Cities: 15,088
    • Unique Internships: Yes
  4. We assigned scores for the sub-metrics
    • Total Internships: Glassdoor placed second to Indeed so it scored "8"
    • Total Internships in Key Cities: Glassdoor placed second to Indeed so it scored "8"
    • Unique Internships: Glassdoor scored "10" (since this was a "yes or no" question, all the platforms that "answered yes" got a "10", while those that didn't got a "0").
  5. We averaged all the sub-metrics' scores together
    • Glassdoor got an overall average of 8.67
    • Since it had the second highest average it scored an "8"
  6. The weight we assigned to Internship Availability was 30%, so Glassdoor's weighted score was "2.4"

Reference Table

The Highest Scoring Student Internship Platforms

Rank

Platform Name

Score

Search Functionality (40%)

Internship Availability (30%)

Tools (20%)

Additional Resources (10%)

#1

Indeed

9.0

10

10

10

0

#2

Glassdoor

6.5

5

8

6.7

7.5

#3

Internships.com

6.1

5

6

6.7

10

#4

Idealist

6.0

7.5

4

6.7

5

#5

Looksharp

2.3

0

2

3.3

10

#6

Experience.com

1.3

2.5

0

0

2.5

Individual Summaries for Each Core Metric and Sub-metric

Core Metric 1: Search Filtering

The reason we identified Search Filtering as our most important core metric is, it doesn't matter how many great internships a platform has if you can't find the ones that are right for you. This core metric grades how customizable the search parameters are, and the presentation of those results to you.

Our first thought was to make Internship Availability the most important core metric, but since we can't grade the quality of the internships (only the quantity), we decided that the raw amount of internships available isn't as important as the ability of the platform's search engine to provide helpful results. Another consideration is that you won't be able to identify whether the internships presented are right for you, if the results aren't consistent and if there isn't good information about the companies that offer them.

Sub-metrics we used:

  • Search Filtering: Is there a filter for paid and unpaid internships? How many job-type filters and other applicable filters are available?
  • Internships: Is there a consistent job description layout? Can you view the job descriptions and complete the initial application without being re-directed to another site?
  • Company Profiles: Are there detailed company profiles that rate and review employers and list all available internship opportunities?

The Highest Scoring Platforms in Search Functionality

Rank

Platform Name

Total

Total Average

Search Filtering

Job Descriptions

Company Profiles

#1

Indeed

10.0

6.67

3.3

6.7

10.0

#2

Idealist

7.5

6.39

7.5

6.7

5.0

#3

Glassdoor

5.0

6.11

0.8

10.0

7.5

#3

Internships.com

5.0

6.11

8.3

10.0

0.0

#4

Experience.com

2.5

1.94

2.5

3.3

0.0

#5

Looksharp

0.0

0.00

0.0

0.0

0.0

Core Metric 2: Internship Availability

This core metric was high on our list of important factors to consider since the chances of you finding an internship that's right for you is somewhat of a numbers game - the more internships you have to choose from, the better your chances of finding a great opportunity. This also allows you to search for very specific opportunities without encountering the dreaded "no search results to show" message.

Internship Availability is a pretty straightforward metric - which platform has the most internships? While we looked at the overall amount in the U.S., we also identified 9 cities that represented different regions and key population centers. New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. had the highest number of results across all the platforms. We also keyed in on a specific quality of the results - were the searches simply showing us results from other internships platforms, or were the postings consistently original? After all, if they were just showing results from other platforms, why not go right to the source?

Sub-metrics we used:

  • Total Internships: How many total internships are available in the U.S.?
  • Total Internships in Key Cities: How many total internships are available in 9 key cities?
  • Unique Internships: Are there exclusively unique internships listings, or are there listings that are imported from another platform?

The Highest Scoring Platforms in Internship Availability

Rank

Platform Name

Score

Total Average

Total Available Internships

Internships in Key Cities

Unique Internships

#1

Indeed

10.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

#2

Glassdoor

8.0

8.7

8.0

8.0

10.0

#3

Internships.com

6.0

6.0

4.0

4.0

10.0

#4

Idealist

4.0

4.7

2.0

2.0

10.0

#5

Looksharp

2.0

4.0

6.0

6.0

0.0

#6

Experience.com

0.0

3.3

0.0

0.0

10.0

Core Metric 3: Tools

The third most important metric we set up, grades the availability of useful tools on each platform. While we can't grade how easy a platform is to use (since that's very subjective), we do think that the platforms that scored the highest in this metric are inherently easier to use. While this is an important metric, we didn't place it above the previous two, due to the fact that none of these directly impact how you find internships. However, they can make your internship search somewhat less of a headache.

Sub-metrics we used:

  • Resume Uploading: Is there a functional tool for uploading your resume?
  • Resume Builder: Is there a tool that facilitates building a new resume?
  • LinkedIn Compatibility: Can you import your information from, and link to, your LinkedIn profile?
  • Saved Searches: Can you save customized searches?
  • Custom Notifications: Can you set up customized email notifications when new internships matching specific criteria become available?
  • Sign Up with Facebook/Google: Can you easily sign-up with Facebook or Google, or do you have to create a new profile from scratch?
  • Optimized for Mobile Devices: Is there a mobile-optimized site?

The Highest Scoring Platforms in Tools

Rank

Platform Name

Score

Total Average

Resume Uploading

Resume Builder

LinkedIn Compatible

Saved Searches

Custom Notifications

Sign Up with Google/ Facebook

Optimized for Mobile Devices

#1

Indeed

10.0

8.6

10.0

10.0

0.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

#2

Glassdoor

6.7

7.1

10.0

0.0

0.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

#2

Idealist

6.7

7.1

0.0

10.0

0.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

#2

Internships.com

6.7

7.1

0.0

10.0

0.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

#3

Looksharp

3.3

5.7

0.0

0.0

10.0

10.0

0.0

10.0

10.0

#4

Experience.com

0.0

4.3

10.0

10.0

0.0

10.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Metric 4: Additional Resources

Additional Resources is like the bonus round on a gameshow. Some of these resources could be helpful, but if a platform performs well in this metric it's more of an added bonus than a reason to rank it above other platforms. It's really an issue of convenience - these kind of resources are available all over the internet, but it's helpful to have them all in one place, and for them to be easily accessible from the same platform that you are using to find internships.

Sub-metrics we used:

  • Internships Related Blog: Is there are regularly updated blog with content that relates to internships?
  • Social Media Integration: Can you interact with the platform on social media?
  • Resume Building Guide: Is there a guide for building resumes?
  • Interview Guide: Are there resources to help prepare you for interviews?
  • Internship Search Guidance: Are there resources to help you pair you with an internship that will be right for you?

The Highest Scoring Platforms in Additional Resources

Rank

Platform Name

Score

Total Average

Blog Relating to Internships

Social Media Integration

Resume Building Guide

Interview Guides

Internship Search Guidance

#1

Internships.com

10.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

#1

Looksharp

10.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

#2

Glassdoor

7.5

8.0

10.0

0.0

10.0

10.0

10.0

#3

Idealist

5.0

6.0

10.0

0.0

10.0

10.0

0.0

#4

Experience.com

2.5

4.0

10.0

0.0

10.0

0.0

0.0

#5

Indeed

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Take Action

Don't wait until the last second to start your internship, or you may just miss out. Take advantage of our many long hours of research, and use a great platform like Indeed or Glassdoor to make your internship search a more fruitful process. Remember to look out for scams, and to prioritize internships that have job duties that relate to your major. Happy hunting!