Finding an internship can be tedious, but isn’t optional in today’s competitive job market. One study found college graduates with paid internship experience are twice as likely to receive job offers as those with no internship experience. It’s never too early—or late—to gain real-world experience you can apply toward your future career.

If you’re wondering how to look for (or land) an internship, here’s X simple steps to get you started:

  1. Update your resume: Your first step is to create or update your resume and social networking websites. Often universities will provide free or low-cost resume review services to students, and career offices usually have counselors who can also help provide resume direction for students.
  1. Narrow down your interests: Many career fields are pretty broad, but you’ll want to focus your time and effort in the specific area you want to work in. Research different types of work in your field, and choose an area you can envision yourself excelling at.
  1. Meet with a careers counselor: Some schools within universities (such as the business schools) have their own career offices with counselors who can help coach students in finding good internships, and most universities have general career counseling services. If you’re not in school, some non-profits and local organizations provide career assistance.
  1. Leverage your contacts list: Your best bet at actually getting an internship (rather than blindly sending your resume to a random company) is to use your personal network first. Ask around about internship opportunities, and don’t be afraid to tap acquaintances like parents of friends.
  1. Review university career boards: Many universities offer local and regional career boards to students that list jobs and internships, often specific to certain schools and majors. Using this method ensures you’ll find opportunities similar to your field of study.
  1. Search online job websites: Many internships are posted to online job boards such as LinkedIn and Indeed. You can also look on websites specific to your career field, and websites of specific companies you are interested in working for.

Once you find the right internship, can help you find the right place to stay.