Around this time of year, it’s common to dream of warmer summer days. But for many students, thinking about summer is is requirement for January and February, as summer internship application deadlines tend to fall in mid-March or early April.
Now that things have gotten into a routine with your winter semester, it’s time to start thinking about your summer internship.
College News has some tips on how to land the summer internship of your dreams.
The best way to increase your chances for a summer internship, or really any, interview is to know someone at your desired employer with some pull. If you, like most of us, don’t have a rolodex of contacts as a 20-year-old student, start by making a list of the companies and organisations you’d like to work for, then ask everyone you can if they know someone. We mean everyone: your parents, their friends, your friends, your friend’s parents, your professors, alumni, etc.
Send cold-emails, schedule informational interviews, go to talks and conferences. Right now is the time to be making as many connections as you can. Early in the application process is when you should be casting your net for contacts far and wide. This gives you time to find and build relationships before the application deadline.
Boost skills your summer internship may want
If you’re looking at an application that requires their ideal candidate to be a whiz at Excel or Adobe InDesign, don’t automatically write yourself off for missing them. Now is the time to brush up on any skills that could boost your application.
Take an extra course at school, enroll in an online course, check our books from the library—use any resources at your disposal to build an ideal skill set. That way, your application will be difficult to ignore.
Brush up your resumé and cover letter
Most college campuses have career centers or other resources dedicated to helping students be as prepared as they can be for jobs and internship opportunities. Bring your resumé and cover letter to someone there, and ask them any questions you have including if someone at your school has a relationship with your desired employer, and if so, can you contact them?
While you’re at it, share your resumé and cover letter with a friend in the same field who can help you think about the language you use to describe your experience. Ask them to keep an eye out for grammatical and formatting errors while they’re at it.
Practice interviewing for you summer internship
The best way to get better at job interviews is to practice, but you might not be in a position to arrange a bunch of practice interviews with different companies. If that’s the case, ask friends and family members to practice interviewing with you. It will feel awkward and tedious, but the preparation will help you feel more confident when the time comes.
Make sure you have a chance to fine tune your answers to broad questions that can be difficult to answer like “tell me about yourself?” or “what are your strengths and weaknesses?” Being able to stay calm, collected and coherent when answering inquiries like that will make you stand out to a potential employer.
Start your summer internship applications now
The most important part of summer internship applications is just that—the application. Summer internships are highly competitive, and you will likely have to apply for more than you anticipate. With deadlines not for another month at least, it might seem early. But start in on it now, and you’ll be well on your way.