One of my biggest regrets while I was in college was not applying for a summer internship. Getting an internship helps you learn valuable traits about yourself and ultimately if the job or position is the right fit for you. Internships can help you learn what you do and do not want to do for the rest of your life. They give you just enough of a sample to help you decide if the major you’ve picked is really the right one for you.
It will also set you apart from the crowd when applying for jobs. Experience is experience. A good GPA on a resume is great but add an internship to it and your resume will be on top. Check out this list of ways to help you get an internship this summer if you haven’t already:
Make a list. Figure out what you want to do – what interests you, what do you want to learn how to do, or what do you think you want to be in 10 years? Write down a few places or lines of work that come to mind. While you’re at it, scribble down a few basic things to narrow your search – what town or area, paid or unpaid, full-time or part-time, for school credit or not.
Research. Look into big companies in your area; most big corporations have internship programs. Stumped? Talk to your school counselor or parents’ friends who have jobs you think are interesting.
Get creative. Don’t want to work in a stuffy office while your buds are hitting the beach? No problem. Look into museums, art galleries, publishing houses, event planning, eco-research centers, whatever.
Hit the pavement. Online research for big companies and orgs is a great starting point, but walk around your city or town to see if any other places spark your interest. Be bold, if something looks interesting, walk in, ask for an application, or leave your info (including a resume) with them. Don’t forget to smile!
Don’t give up. So your dream workplace doesn’t have an internship program? The search isn’t over yet! Look up who you can contact in Human Resources or who the managing director of a certain department might be, and contact him! Let him know that you’re interested in interning and ask if the company has a program or a way for you to help and learn a few things.
Make sure you can do it! Once you have a few places, ask yourself: Got a ride? OK’d it with your parents? Is it realistic for you to get to the internship during the summer? Make sure you can get a ride (or map out your bus/train route), and if you can walk or bike, even better! You don’t want to commit to something and have to pull out at the last minute, so cover your bases.
Make contact. If your internship has a formal application program, write out your application and apply, AND do a little digging to find out who might be getting that app. Give HR a call and ask who handles hiring. Send her a written note or an email explaining why you’d like the job and what makes you good at it. A little extra goes a long way.
Spread your net. It’s tempting to put all your efforts into that dream job, but there are ton of people applying for internships, so make sure you look into at least five options and make contact with them so you have plenty of choices!
Follow-up. If you talked to someone at a company or had an interview, make sure to thank them and remind them you’re out there and would still love to intern with them.
Until Next Time,