Tips for Landing That Summer Internship

By Vivian El-Salawy on April 11, 2018

Many college graduates leave their universities with a stellar GPA, a phenomenal cover letter ready to go, but they find their resumes lacking fulfillment when it comes to experience. Many employers seek for their employees to have a certain amount of years’ worth of experience, and more often than not, this does not include the time you put into earning your degree alone. This is why taking a summer to do an internship (whether paid or not) may separate you from other post-grad applicants.

First and foremost, it is important to consider that if you’ve done an internship in the past – (maybe it was required for your major and you needed to earn the credits in order to graduate), it wouldn’t hurt to do another one. You have more than one summer within your college career, and it’s important to take a mental break here and there, but three months is a long time – consider a short internship. Going the extra mile says a lot about a person.

Additionally, if you have already graduated and are having trouble finding a job (particularly in your field), it is never a bad idea to do yet another internship after you graduate – maybe this time in search of a paid internship. If there is a specific area you are interested in moving to, pursuing a paid internship within the area will help you network and sometimes even land a permanent position with the company or business. Now, how do you get the summer internship you’ve been looking for?

Make a LinkedIn account

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If you don’t already have a LinkedIn account, go ahead and make one. It’s easy, and it’s essentially an online resume. It is a way to network professionally – just upload a professional headshot (or if you do not have a high-quality headshot, just ask a friend to snap a nice picture of you in business casual attire). If it’s a photo you would post on Instagram or Twitter, think twice (in other words, avoid selfies). Upload relevant work experience, volunteering, your professional goals and aspirations, add fellow classmates, teachers, coworkers, and so on. If there is a company you’re interested in working with, go follow them and see what they are up to. Even go as far as looking into their Human Resources or other higher up employees and follow them on LinkedIn to show that you are interested in the company or business.

Never underestimate the power of applying…and applying…and applying

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Much like getting a job (especially for the first time right out of college), as difficult as it may be, it takes a good amount of applying. Some people apply to over fifty jobs, hear back from five, and then actually land interviews with two. It’s nothing personal, but it just comes down to the statistics of the situation. Don’t feel discouraged and continue to apply and apply. If you make a LinkedIn account, you can job search in specific regions or categories of job types and “easy apply” to certain ones, where the website will automatically link your resume, profile, and other uploaded documents directly to the employers.

Be proactive

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Let’s say you have already applied to a summer internship. It’s April, the clock is ticking, and you haven’t’ heard back yet. There is no harm in reaching out to the employer – send them an e-mail or leave them a voicemail. Show that you are determined and interested in the position (just don’t overdo it – the last thing you want to do is annoy them). If they respond with a filled position, don’t fret it – just move on and continue applying.

“Do you have any questions?”

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When in the interview process, employers love to ask if you have any questions toward the very end. Never hesitate to ask a question. While the company is giving you the opportunity to add another thing to your resume, show that you are truly interested in getting something larger than that out of it. Ask about the professional outcomes you may gain from this experience, what new skills it will help you develop, and if this will help you get a good overview of your field.  These are just a few of the things you can consider asking, but reflect and truly pay attention to what is being said throughout the interview process – perhaps there is something they want to see of you, or something professional you would like to learn about your employer, maybe some advice. It’s best to read the situation and go from there.

Eye Contact and Body Language

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This one seems obvious – good posture, professional attire, make eye contact, etc. However, most people are not aware of those things when it comes to themselves. Even when “rehearsing” or “practicing” in front of a mirror, you can see yourself and there becomes a bias in your self-evaluation. Try practicing an interview with a somebody you don’t know – not a total stranger, but maybe a roommate of a friend from class. That way, you can get feedback on what things you need to work on – maybe you tug at the bottom of your shirt when you’re nervous, or you don’t realize it but you look down at your shoes at the end of every sentence, and work on these things.

These are just a few of the small things you can do to land the summer internship of your dreams. Don’t get hung up on a lack of response or rejection – continue applying and even consider branching out of your specific field of interest because you may just find a brand new passion.

Vivian El-Salawy is a graduate of Florida State University with a B.A. in Editing, Writing, and Media with minors in Slavic (Russian) Studies and Communications. Alongside writing for Uloop News, WVFS Tallahassee 89.7 FM, and editing for the Good Life Community magazine, she is heavily involved with a Tau Beta Sigma, a national honorary sorority that promotes women in the band profession.

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