Summer internships can be a great way to make money for college while learning valuable skills relevant to your career field. However, internship positions can be competitive and if you don’t do the legwork you might miss out. Here are nine tips for landing the summer internship you want.
1. The early bird gets the worm
Most employers start recruiting for summer interns well before summer vacation begins, so your best bet is to start looking as early as possible. Obviously, take care of your academics first and don’t let searching for an internship consume you, but you should begin your internship search before finals. That way you can concentrate on school while already having several irons in the fire.
2. Get your résumé squared away
As soon as you start looking for an internship, you should sit down and write a résumé, if you don’t already have one, or update it if you do. Remember, a résumé is your calling card, it’s how employers will meet you for the first time, so make sure to construct a quality, professional résumé.
3. Be proactive — and stay that way
Don’t sit around and wait for a summer internship to fall into your lap, because it won’t. And don’t wait for a company you’re interested in interning at to post an internship because many summer jobs aren’t announced, or at least not advertised in a convenient way. Keep a directory of all the companies you’re interested in interning for and send them your résumé with a brief cover letter to introduce yourself. You should also browse company websites and learn more about them and the positions they typically offer summer interns.
4. Read career-specific publications
Career-specific publications related to your field of study are a good way to stay in touch with industry news and developments and can also be a source of information on internship positions. Plus, staying on top of current events in your field of interest can make you stand out during the interview process and give you a leg up on other candidates.
5. Choose the right internship
Just because you’re offered an internship position doesn’t mean you should take it. Think twice about accepting an internship, keeping in mind that it needs to be a valuable learning experience that’s relevant to your coursework and personal and professional growth and not just a paper-filing job, especially if the internship doesn’t pay much.
6. Start looking for postings at your college
A lot of companies looking to hire summer internships will post positions through universities. Keep one eye on your school’s bulleting boards (especially in your department), campus newsletters, clubs, and associations for openings. Stop by during your professors’ office hours and ask them if they know of any summer internships through the colleagues or acquaintances. And don’t forget the most obvious place to look: your university’s career or job placement center.
7. Register with online recruiters
Posting your résumé online with a recruiter is one of the fastest and easiest means of finding a position in the modern job market. While posting online shouldn’t be your only option, you should definitely make it a tool in your toolbox.
It’s all about who you know. Don’t forget that. Network, ask around, ask friends and family and classmates to ask around for you about internship openings. Chances are somebody will know someone who is looking for a summer intern, and networking is a great way to get your foot in the door.
9. Think globally
Consider applying for global internships overseas. After all, internships aren’t limited to positions in your neighborhood or even your country. And if you have plans to travel or study abroad or visit family overseas during the summer, applying for an internship in the country of your visit might just be the perfect melding of opportunities. And you can’t beat the perspective-growing experience that contact with other peoples and cultures provides.
If you want a summer internship bad enough, you can get one. But you’ll have a better chance of landing a good gig if you follow these nine tips. Remember, if getting an internship is important to you and you show it, a prospective employer will see that. Good hunting.