It’s that time of year! Though it might seem early, campus recruiters have started the spring and summer “dating game” to decide who they will hire for an internship or as a new graduate.

Companies usually start recruiting for internships and jobs for new grads around October and most complete their hiring by the end of January or mid-February. However, this year and last, there are a lot more quality candidates on the market, so employers may wait until later to hire their interns and early career candidates. 

The single most important piece of information for students to know is that there are actually recruiters who are dedicated to working on hiring students—Campus or University Recruiters. For students searching, “campus recruiting” is what you want to look for on general recruiting profiles. Also note that in mid-size companies, industry recruiters may also take on some campus recruiting activities.

Who is hiring for an internship or new grad opportunities?

The companies that generally hire the most interns or new grads are oddly at the opposite ends of the spectrum.

On one end of the spectrum are startups. When I talk about startups, I’m not just referring to tech and software companies. I am talking about any company in growth mode. And on the other end of the spectrum are enterprise companies. Below, I’ll break down what I mean by an “enterprise” company.

Company size and ability to hire interns and new grads

For ease of reference, I want to break down business language as it deals with business sizes. Below are rough definitions that will help you understand annual revenue as I break down the types of businesses hiring.

  • Small: usually 100 or fewer employees (annual revenue of $5M or less)
  • SMB: mid-size market, usually with 500-1000 employees, annual revenue over $5M
  • Enterprise: usually companies with more than 1000 employees, often with multiple offices, and annual revenue over $1B+

Companies operating on slim profit margins generally run very lean organizations and don’t have the manpower to devote to a quality intern experience. You might be able to find an unpaid internship, but the amount of coaching and mentoring you receive will be pretty minimal, which is generally the whole point of an internship. 

Most organizations with campus or university designated functions have relationships with specific schools that they work with and have a set protocol that they follow. Larger companies have national networks, and smaller companies may stick to more local and regional schools.

This list of campus recruiters for 2021 is based on titles and includes H1-B companies who sponsor. With COVID-19 and most employers with offices offering remote roles, school location is less of an issue for those smaller employers offering internships.

How to find a role as a new grad

I want to cover new grads first, then I will focus specifically on internship resources. The single biggest error I see new graduates making is a lack of focus on their job search. There are very few things more frustrating for a recruiter than having an entry-level candidate contact us when we don’t hire entry-level roles.

Make sure you are qualified for a role before applying to it

I recently had an opening for an analyst with one to three years of industry (business vs. academic) experience. In 72 hours, I received more than 500 applications. However, only about a dozen of these applications were actually qualified on paper. The rest were new grads that didn’t meet the minimum qualifications. Because of that, they were declined.

This not only wastes my time as a recruiter, but it also takes away from your time and effort to apply to positions where you actually are qualified.

Only reach out to recruiters for roles they are filling

When reaching out to a recruiter, you need to make sure that you are reaching out to the correct one. I receive at least three to four daily LinkedIn requests from new graduates for roles I don’t even hire for. However, that information is clearly delineated on my profile page in several places.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to help with a role I am not filling. I am recruiting for my own roles, and that is a full-time job. As a recruiter, I am generally juggling between 15-60 candidates at any given time in various stages in the process. Because of that, I simply don’t have the time to help everyone with roles I am not working on myself.

Be specific with the questions you ask recruiters

Many campus positions are intentionally vague to allow for broad experiences and education. In fact, the university/campus team includes the only recruiters that know exactly what skills and projects are open. This is why a recruiter that has no university/campus recruiting experience will probably have no idea how to answer even general questions about this type of process.

That being said, if you have a specific question about a company, or a general question about recruiting, most recruiters are happy to take time and answer them. But you need to make sure these questions are specific. 

How to find a role as an intern

Much of my advice above is the same for new grads and interns when it comes to interacting with recruiters and working with your university career center. However, you can find additional resources for identifying internships below:

Also, don’t discount a temporary summer job. Check with temporary staffing companies. This will only work closer toward the time you are getting out of school (i.e. late May for the summer). It is a bit tougher with so many jobs being remote, but it is still an option.

Another internship option is doing freelance work in your discipline. Go to local small businesses and offer to help them with things such as marketing, website design, sales campaigns, or wherever your expertise lies.

Finally, consider the value of volunteering—this can be another type of unpaid internship. Idealist and Volunteermatch are where most opportunities are advertised.

Whether you’re searching for an internship or an opportunity as a new grad, make sure your resume is ready to go. We can help! Just copy and paste your resume and the internship or job description, and you’ll see a report on how to make improvements.

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Kristen Fife

Kristen is a Senior Recruiter in the Seattle area, as well as a writer and guest speaker.

More articles by Kristen Fife