Launch your Career

5 Steps to a Great Internship – Overview

Internships

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Finding a summer internship can be incredibly challenging and it’s never too soon to start your search. The competition is tough and there are a limited number of internships.

Of course, if there is an internship out there for you and it is available, then you want to be in a position to do everything you can to get it.

Working toward your getting your summer internship can be broken down into five simple steps. This article is a high-level overview of internships. Each of the topics listed below will be covered in greater detail in future articles in this series:

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Identify Your Goals for the Perfect Internship

  1. Industry – which industry best defines your college major and what you want to do once you graduate
  2. Responsibilities – What do you want to do during your internship? Analysis, research, etc.
  3. 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:

  1. Companies that have special programs that align with your interests (maybe a global warming program or a medical research program).
  2. Companies that are leaders in your selected industry.
  3. 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.

Finding a summer internship can be incredibly challenging and it's never too soon to start your search. The competition is tough and there are a limited number of internships.

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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:

  1. Your network (friends, family, fellow students, and professors).
  2. Your college career office is one of the best resources you have for both, your internship search and your future job search.
  3. Company career sites – many have internship sections.
  4. Alumni or fellow students who have interned at some of the companies on your list.
  5. Things you will need (like a resume and cover letter).

“Ideally, your internships should be aligned with your college major and your career goals. 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

If your research, lists, and tools (resume, cover letter, etc.) are all set, you are ready to start your search. You should consider:

  1. Make a plan – organize how and when you will conduct your search.
  2. Start sending your resumes (must have a cover letter), making your calls and sending emails to contacts in your network.

Telephone Interview

Your Interviews

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:

  1. Create your elevator speech (more on this in a future article, but take a look at ==>> Interviewing).
  2. Research – Ensure you know everything you can about the company where you are interviewing.  Additional focus on your industry is key.
  3. Know Your Audience – Learn as much as you can about the interviewer. Speak with others who have had internships at this company.
  4. Question Preparation – Make a detailed list of questions you will (should ask) and questions you will be asked (including the answers).
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