Schools Training

Finding a Summer Internship

7 MAY 2014
Career Path : Career Tips

Regardless of your career path, getting a summer internship is a great way to get practical experience and further your skills. While working may not sound as attractive as relaxing in the sun, your extra efforts will pay off down the road by making you more attractive to potential employers. Having one foot in the door can be a valuable step towards getting a good job post-graduation.

To land a summer internship, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and put together a good strategy. Here are a few practical tips to help you with your internship search.

Network Strategically

Sending your resume to companies online can be effective, but it can also be a black hole. Some companies receive so many résumés that they’re simply unable to carefully examine every candidate. Contacts give you a much better fighting chance. If you can’t think of anyone, try tweeting or posting on Facebook something like, “I’d love to intern at [name of company]. Does anyone know someone who has worked or interned there?” Your web of relationships is much deeper than you think. In fact, it’s a tremendous tool to secure the position you’re hoping to get. This advice applies for a summer internship as much as any other position you apply for during your career.

Push Your Passion

If you have a strong interest for a particular sector or field, like politics, cinema or cars, look for internships in that field. Focusing on what you love is a great way to stay motivated during your internship search. Even if you don’t have contacts in that field, you’re more likely during your search to be driven, dedicated and speaking from a place of passion when meeting with employers. Look for information online about public events by companies in this field and attend them to introduce yourself, network and hand-out resumes in person. Make sure that your resume list your school!

Mine the Web

Though applying only online can make it harder to stand out, the internet contains tons of information that will be valuable to you during your internship search, from companies actively looking for interns to the different types of businesses in your area. You can use broad database sites like internships.com, indeed.com or, if you want to spend your summer overseas, GoAbroad.com. If you’d prefer to intern at a nonprofit, you can try a site like jobs.change.org, an offshoot of the social entrepreneurship site, change.org.

Research All Your Options

Make a list of the websites of all the companies you’d like to work for and read every word in their “job and internship opportunities” sections. Remember: Patience, Diligence and Persistence will pay off. Either through your contacts or by thoroughly researching some companies, it might be possible for you to find out who the right person to speak to is. Be bold! If your dream workplace doesn’t have a summer internship program, take a leap of faith and try to figure out who you can contact in Human Resources or who the managing director of a certain department might be. Let him or her know, respectfully, that you’d love to intern for them and talk up your credentials.

Study Up for the Interview

Before an internship interview, learn how to walk the walk and talk the talk. At the interview, you’ll want to look as though you’d fit in and dazzle the recruiter with your knowledge about their business and industry. Regardless of the field you’re interested in, there’s tons of information you can find either online, in educational articles, college news or in newspapers about the current state of that industry. Increasing the amount of knowledge you possess about an industry can be time-consuming, but it will allow you to speak from an informed place during your interview.