Junior year hits and suddenly everyone around you has a summer internship. You’ve barely looked at your resume and you definitely haven’t passed it by your career counselor. It feels like you’re a million steps behind. But in reality, you’re not. Because you’re here. You took an important step to learn more about summer internships. This is where your career journey begins. Let’s get started!
You probably already know the importance of a summer internship. From gaining experience, adding killer skills to your resume and making connections with employers in your field, the list of pros goes on and on.
You know that you want a summer internship, you know you might need one depending on your major and course requirements, but how exactly do you score one? Between beginning to job search to impressing your boss, start planning ahead for that internship you’ve had your eye on since you made your first LinkedIn connection.
Step 1: Boost Your Resume and Cover Letter
Whew, another semester’s come and gone and another finals season conquered. But before you let yourself fall into a spiral of 4 a.m. Netflix binges and 2 p.m. wake up calls, you still have some work to do. It’s never too early or late to start applying for summer internships. Ok, well, if it’s August, you may be late for summer internships but internships exist year round, don’t let the summer part stop you.
Remember that group project you took charge of? A great example of your managerial abilities. That sorority fundraiser you helped organize? Um, hellooo, event organizer.
Before you know it you’ll have a resume (or CV) that hypes you up as much as your squad before a big night out. Once you’ve written your resume, make it digital. Revamp your LinkedIn profile to reflect your newly-realized skillset.
Worried about writing cover letters? Don’t be. The key to cover letters is the same as dating: Don’t try too hard and just be yourself (and like with dating, a quick glance over their socials never hurt). Check out the company’s website and mission statement to see if you’re a good match. If you are, incorporate those keywords into your letter and you’ll have them swooning in no time.
Step 2: Nail Your Internship Search
Now that you’ve hyped yourself up, it’s time to put those internet-stalking skills to use and find the perfect internship. You know, the one that will take you from an entry-level newbie to a bonafide #boss.
Tip #1: Start now. Seriously, you don’t need the stress of trying to lock something down with your dad’s friend’s cousin’s possibly-illegal side hustle because you were too late to the game.
Tip #3: Set up job notifications. With plenty of online resources (here are the 10 best websites for finding an internship) at your disposal, you can easily set up alerts on job search sites that will let you know when the best internship for your goals.
Tip #4: Check out CM’s internship directory below to get the inside scoop on internships all over the country.
Step 3: Interview for Your Summer Internship
You check your email — it’s a notification from the internship you were dying to land. Expecting another one of those automated responses saying “we’ve decided to go with a stronger candidate,” you prepare to feel your heart drop into your stomach just like when you accidentally post to your Insta-story #embarassing.
Wait — the email came from an actual person? And they want to set up an interview!
Now don’t post that status update yet. In order to secure this internship, you need to stand out in your interview whether it takes place in the center of their NYC office or via Zoom.
Between dressing to impress (leave the crocs where they belong aka the trash), showing confidence (but not arrogance) and preparing some questions to ask the interviewer, try to stay calm, cool and collected (or fake it til you make it). You know what getting this internship means — some field-related experience, a huge resume boost and connectivity with employers.
Best way to combat nerves? Be prepared for anything. Or also, just wing it. Winging it definitely works, too.
Who knows? An interview for this summer internship could jumpstart your future career. Goodbye childhood bedroom, and hellooo your very first one-bedroom apartment.
Step 4: Excel in Your Summer Internship
It can only be smooth sailing from here, right? Now you’re on track with the rest of your over-achieving classmates. You know, the ones who always show up to your 8 a.m. discussion and actually want to discuss the material (seriously, who does that?).
But… just because you got the job doesn’t mean you can’t lose it — or get a crappy report from your supervisor (you always knew Brad had it in for you). Continue to show up and go above and beyond. Work hard and bring those positive vibes to make the most of your experience.
Once you craft that perfect LinkedIn post to flex on your fellow college students and those employers that rejected you, it’s time to prove why you earned that position.
Whether you plan to kill it from your desk at home or in the city of your dreams, you need to show your co-workers and employers that you belong at this company. Excelling in your summer internship leads to stellar recommendation letters or maybe even a permanent position waiting for you after graduation. A full-time salary job in your future? It’s more likely than you think.
Maybe you realize this opportunity doesn’t line up with your ideal career and you should consider a major switch. Maybe you learn some life lessons along the way (like to never put a tuna sandwich in the communal fridge). Maybe you identified your passion. Get ready to find out.
Ready to get started? Check out College Magazine’s Internship Guides:
There’s plenty more where that came from! Check out all of our internship guides here.