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Securing a summer internship can be an incredibly challenging endeavor, and it’s wise to begin your search early. The competition for internships is fierce, and the available positions are often limited.
If there’s an internship out there that aligns with your goals and becomes available, you’ll want to be ready to seize the opportunity. Taking the right steps and being well-prepared can make the difference in landing that coveted position.
The process of working towards securing your summer internship can be simplified into five essential steps. Understanding these steps will not only enhance your chances but also make the entire process more manageable. This article offers a comprehensive high-level overview of internships, providing you with the guidance and insights to navigate the competitive landscape and successfully pursue the internship that can be a key stepping stone in
Identify Your Goals for the Perfect Internship
- Industry – Which industry best defines your college major and what you want to do once you graduate
- Responsibilities – What do you want to do during your internship? Analysis, research, etc.
- Career goals – Define your overall career goals.
Create Your Target Lists
If you identified your industries from the first step above, now is the time to list the companies in this industry (and it can be more than one industry) where you would ideally like to have your internship. These can include:
- Companies that have special programs that align with your interests (maybe a global warming program or a medical research program).
- Companies that are leaders in your selected industry.
- Internship support services – there are many resources on the Internet to help in the overall process. We will include a list in the “Target List” article.
Create Your Search Resource Network
Who do you know (or who do you need to know) who can help you land your perfect internship and what do you need to get started? Make a list of:
- Your network (friends, family, fellow students, and professors).
- Your college career office is one of the best resources you have for both, your internship search and your future job search.
- Company career sites – many have internship sections.
- Alumni or fellow students who have interned at some of the companies on your list.
- Things you will need (like a Resume and cover letter).
“Ideally, your internships should be aligned with your college major and
your careergoals. While having “any” internship on your Resume is better than no internship, your focus should be those internships that will provide the most value. Set goals that allow you to learn about your likes, dislikes, and perceptions. This is your “audition” for the real world, treat it as an opportunity to get a job offer when you graduate. ” – Identify Your Goals
Start Your Search
If your research, lists, and tools (cover letter, etc.) are all set, you are ready to start your search. You should consider:
- Make a plan – organize how and when you will conduct your search.
- Start sending your resumes (must have a cover letter), making your calls, and sending emails to contacts in your network.
Once you’ve landed an interview (which is a huge achievement), it’s time to focus on what you need to do to ace the interview and you will need to be at the top of your game. Your focus should be:
- Create your elevator speech (more on this in a future article, but take a look at ==>> Interviewing).
- Research – Ensure you know everything you can about the company where you are interviewing. Additional focus on your industry is key.
- Know Your Audience – Learn as much as you can about the interviewer. Speak with others who have had internships at this company.
- Question Preparation – Make a detailed list of questions you will (should ask) and questions you will be asked (including the answers).
Landing your dream internship doesn’t have to be an insurmountable challenge. By following these five straightforward steps, you can strategically position yourself to seize the opportunity that aligns with