Finding a Summer Internship

Now that the New Year is off to a start, it’s time to start thinking about summer! Right?? Just where you thought this was headed.

In all seriousness though, now is the perfect time to start thinking about summer internships and what you might want to get involved with during the long summer break. It’s easy to forget that the summertime is a prime time to continue adding to your resume and getting the type of experience that can help you secure jobs in the long run.

Internships are often built into the curriculum for a lot of majors, but some majors won’t require them, so you’ll have to take matters into your own hands. If you’ve never had an internship and you’re not quite sure where to start, take a look at these tips and start thinking about all those amazing opportunities at your fingertips.

1. Apply, apply, apply

It might seem obvious, but you’re probably not going to get an internship if you’re not applying for any. You might wonder if the right internship will suddenly throw itself into your path, and while there’s a very slim chance that could occur, it most likely won’t and you’ll miss out on something that could really change the direction of your career.

Start applying for internships as soon as you can. Even if you’re sending out just one application a week, you’ll be in a great place come summertime. Most job websites also post about available internships but don’t be afraid to do some cold calling. If there’s a company you’d be interested in spending some time, reach out over email and see if there are any business needs you can fulfill.

2. Dust off your resume

If you haven’t touched your resume since your freshman-year job application, it’s time to get to work. Make sure your resume features your most updated work experience, your major and GPA, your skills and expertise, and any other relevant information. Avoid lengthy resumes that go on for pages, but do be sure to include relevant coursework and classes. If you’re having trouble figuring out what you should add to your resume, see if your college’s tutoring center or career center can help go through it with you.

Your resume (and cover letter) is really the place where you can (and should) tout yourself and what you’re able to do. Do you have three years of experience as a camp counselor? Great! Add it. It shows you can shoulder a lot of responsibility. Did you volunteer at your local animal shelter? Awesome! Add it. It speaks to your caring nature.

3. Consider multiple options

It’s easy to get stuck with one job title in mind as you apply for internships, but don’t limit yourself. There are many different versions of the same job title, and you might be losing out on some opportunities if you’re only searching for one term. Try to make a list of all the related titles that might include the job responsibilities you’re interested in, and add job alerts to each so you’ll be notified by email when a new opportunity becomes available.

Employers like to see diversity and a wide range of skills in applicants, so you might want to consider an internship in a field that’s not directly related to the line of work you’re interested in but will still pair cohesively to show that you’re a well-rounded candidate.

4. Don’t compare yourself

It can be easy to look at your roommate who just landed that stellar, out-of-state internship and compare yourself to her successes. Don’t! You’re each on your own journey, and the work you put into your applications and, eventually, your internship will show when you go to apply for actual jobs. Don’t be afraid to ask for tips if you want—you might discover an awesome internship posting website—but try to steer clear of comparing yourself.

5. Ask around

Talking with friends, family, and even your professors can pay off when you’re in the midst of searching for an internship. Someone might know someone else who needs some help and could potentially offer an internship. Don’t be afraid to say no if something is not the right fit, but keep chatting with people—you never know where an internship opportunity might crop up.