It might still feel like winter outside, but it’s the season to start preparing for summer internships. Businesses both large and small are starting to think about summer internships, and if you’re trying to land a highly-coveted position, now is the time to get started with your application process. But before you do, read our tips on how to navigate the world of summer internships:
What Type of Internship: The first question is whether your college or university requires you to complete an internship in a specific field. For example, if you are a public relations major in college, you may be required to complete a public relations internship in order to qualify for graduation. However, if you’re not bound to any strict requirements, there are dozens upon dozens of options out there once you identify what interests you. Make sure to include this info on your resume!
What Industry? While you may have to apply for more than one internship, it doesn’t mean that you have to apply for every public relations internship out there. Start by narrowing down your industry focus. Do you like fashion, social media or want to work for a non-profit? Find a few areas that interest you and begin your search there.
Talk to Your Advisor: Some, if not most, internships require that you receive college credit as a condition of employment. Even if you don’t need an advisor to register for the internship or to receive credit, speaking to one might still be a good idea. An advisor can tell you what to expect from an internship, how to apply and might have connections with companies you are interested in. It’s an important appointment to make, even for the most independent students.
Prepare Your Cover Letter and Resume: Before you can start applying for summer internships, you have to make sure your internship resume and cover letter are updated and are in working order. Did you remember to add that new club you joined in the fall? Does your cover letter look professional? Make the strongest first impression possible, and if you need help, there are hundreds of websites on the Internet that offer free samples and guides. College career centers also provide assistance.
Get References: A potential employer could very easily want to check your references, so keep the screening process moving by having them handy. Ask your college advisor, perhaps a previous professor or two or boss.
Where to Apply: If you know specific companies you want to work for this summer, try searching their website for career information. If you want to see which companies are advertising summer internship positions, try a job board like Urban Interns that has up-to-date job listings.
Learn and Have Fun: You are taking an internship to learn, so try to apply for positions where you will build tangible skills and credentials. But just because a summer internship is work does not mean you cannot have fun! Finding an internship that is both educational and fun—now that’s the position you really want to get!