Finding the right summer internship for you.
Summer internships are a meaningful and substantial way to gain experience, exposure, and knowledge in your field. Yet, the process can often feel overwhelming. Here are a few tips to get you on track, keep you motivated, and help you secure an amazing internship.
Define + Refine Your Search.
Spending time mindlessly combing through websites and job postings is likely going to leave you feeling discouraged. Instead, start by thinking critically about the opportunities and experiences you want. For starters, reflect on some of the following:
- What skills are you hoping to develop?
- What are your research interests?
- Is the mission of the company/organization important to you? What about the size?
- What are your non-negotiable items?
- Does location matter?
- What resources do you have available?
Defining the goals and objectives for your internship, as well as other contributing factors, will give you the opportunity to focus your time and energy toward finding a rewarding experience.
Make A Schedule.
Searching for an internship while still upholding your class and other commitments can be a challenge. Creating a schedule is one of the best ways to stay focused. For example, you could consider dedicating one hour on Mondays to researching, one hour on Tuesdays to networking, and one hours on Wednesday to submitting applications. Giving yourself structure and defined tasks will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and keep you motivated.
Let the Internet Work for You.
With a plan in place, it is time to turn to internship and job databases to help you identify possible opportunities. In particular, be sure to check out these websites:
Be creative with your filters to help you identify the best opportunities for you based on your goals and objectives.
Utilize Your Network.
Think you need to know hundreds of people to get an internship? Not exactly. You simply need to know how to strategically network, both in person and online. LinkedIn.com is one of the greatest networking tools at your disposal. If you’re interested in an opportunity at a specific company or in a particular region, utilize LinkedIn’s search filters to find people you may know, either directly or by way of another connection, who meet your criteria. Then reach out to them! Send them a message and ask if they would be willing to spend 10 minutes talking to you about their experience. Not only will this help you better understand the industry (which will give you a leg up in interviews) but it may increase the chances that your resume makes it out of the stack and into someone’s hands.
You should take a similar approach toward networking with alumni. In addition to LinkedIn, you can utilize the resources in the department to connect with recent alumni. Those personal connections can make a big difference.
Be Kind to Yourself.
Searching for an internship can be stressful. Don’t compare yourself to others. Take risks by applying to positions you might not think you’re qualified for or by reaching out to individuals who you think are “too busy” or “too important” to help. Stretch your comfort zone. Internships are all about learning new skills and the search process is no different. Utilize this opportunity to grow your network and the skills needed to eventually help you find a full time job following graduation.