We all know that interning can be great for future career prospects, but securing that all-important, challenging-yet-rewarding position can be tough.

Many businesses have been downsizing in the economic downturn, and so offering placement schemes can seem like one more hassle that employers don’t have time to think about.

If you know where to look though, it’s still possible to find really great and valuable internships out there. Here we’ll share with you 5 secret tricks that you should have up your sleeve!

Friends and family

Even with all the advances in modern technology that we’ve had in recent years, networking is still a very valid tool when it comes to looking for internships.

Let your family and friends know that you’re on the lookout, and ask around to see if they have any valuable contacts that they could introduce you to.

Another useful tip is to have a browse through your connections on LinkedIn to see who’s doing what, and whether they might be able to help you out.

You never know, it could get you a foot in the door!

Internship search engines

We all know about Google, but did you realise that there are search engines out there that focus solely on finding you a suitable internship?

Start out with Save the Graduate’s intern search. You can filter for suitable positions based on keywords and location, so you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.

Through your university

Most university campuses have a job shop, and while you’re looking for an internship, you should make it your business to call in at least once every week.

The hottest positions are likely to disappear fast, so you need to be ahead of the game!

The staff should be more than willing to help you with your search, and they might even be able to offer some in-depth advice when it comes to internships.

Twitter

Twitter, when used correctly, can be a great way to find internships. Follow employers that you’re interested in, and don’t be scared to reach out and strike up conversations.

You can also use the advanced search function to look for keywords such as ‘internship’.

Just make sure that your profile sends out the right message. Pictures of you falling out of nightclubs aren’t likely to impress!

Careers fairs

Sometimes, meeting employers face-to-face can be just what you need to create an impression and make some valuable connections.

Look out for events in your local area, and go along dressed to impress with your CV ready.

You might find some fairs that specialise in internships and placements, though this isn’t a necessity. Still go along to general fairs, as you never know what might be available.

Internships may be in short supply, but if you add these tools to your repertoire, you’re maximising your chances of success. Carefully plan your approach, and make sure that you stick to it.

It’s unlikely that you’ll find the perfect position straightaway, but a little perseverance will go a long way.