Landing a great internship in college can help you get your dream job when you graduate. Many majors are now requiring students to have a summer internship as part of a graduation requirement, so the pressure and competition is high. The process of narrowing down your top choices, and applying, are fairly similar for every major. Here are my tips on applying for a college internship.
- Brainstorm a BIG list: Forget about all of your restrictions, dream big, make a long list of anywhere you would like to intern. Forget about location or whether they have a formal intern program, just make a list. Think outside the box. Don’t just Google (insert major name here) internships. Think about companies you would love to work for and are genuinely interested in. Use your resources.
- Narrow your list down: Now it is time to get picky – make a list of criteria. Where are you willing to live? Do you need to get paid? Again, keep any companies that you are interested in that meet the criteria, even if they do not advertise an internship. We will get to that part later on.
- Create a kick-ass cover letter and resume: There are literally millions of places online that talk about creating resumes and cover letters, so I don’t plan on going into detail here. I do stress the importance of spelling & grammar, along with STANDING OUT. It’s okay if you don’t have a lot of experience, reference what you’ve learned in school and even projects you have been a part of. Depending on where you’re applying, add some pzazz, but don’t go crazy. Have parents and professors look over your resume to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
- Apply: Now for the stressful part, well at least I find this to be the most stressful part. It’s fairly straightforward to apply to companies that have an online application process. I do recommend sending a personal email, if possible. It adds a nice touch and might help you stand out. Now for those companies that you would love to work for, but you don’t know if they have an internship program. If this is a company that you would love to work for, work for it!! Contact anyone and everyone that you can find that works at that company – even if they are in a different department. Every company had a first intern, and you could be theirs.
- Follow up: A lot of people forget this step and it is one of the most important. Send a follow up email or letter thanking them for their time, remind them why you would love to work for their company, and that you look forward to hearing back from them.