I’m currently a graphic design student at Auburn University, and the past couple of months has consisted of me frantically searching for a place to intern this Summer. My search included various job websites and emails to local companies, hoping that someone would answer me back. Because of my major, the emails I would send to companies for potential internships included my resume, a cover letter, and my portfolio. It’s nerve-racking knowing that someone could look at your work and immediately decide whether they want you at their company or not. Luckily, I’ve found an internship with a company I really admire, and I’m both terrified and excited to start. So, I thought I would make a list of some tips for finding Summer internships and gaining experience in your career field.
1. Have a Good Resume/Cover Letter
This is an obviously important detail, but having a resume that is clear and organized is extremely important. Put the most important information at the top – whatever you want companies to read about you first. Also, make sure all your resume information fits on one page; employers aren’t going to scroll to that second page. If you have too much information on your resume, look at cutting some stuff out. For example, the volunteer work I did with a certain organization may not pertain to my specific major and the work I would do in my field. Only put achievements and credentials that pertain to your field of study and will catch a company’s attention.
2. Ask Your Advisor/Professors for Connections
For my graphic design major, I was able to ask my professors about any internships they knew of that were available. I also get emails from my specific college about any available internships or jobs. If you are able, I would ask your professors or advisors about internships in the area and if they have any connections that would be helpful for you.
3. Find the Right Websites for Internships
A big part of my internship search was the job websites I found. I looked at Handshake, LinkedIn, WayUp and InternQueen. I’m not kidding when I say every day I would look at these websites just to see if anything came up. I turned on notifications for Summer internships in my area. Usually you can find pretty good opportunities on these sites, you just have to look carefully and dig deep.
4. Email Companies, Even if They Don’t Have Any Openings
This can be a little scary, but I promise it’s worth it. If you have certain companies in mind that you’d love to internship for but don’t know if they are hiring, send them an email with your resume and cover letter. In your cover letter, express interest in their company and prove to them that you are a great fit for them and would like to schedule an interview. I had a whole list dedicated to companies I wanted to send my resume to that didn’t have any summer internships openings on their website. There’s no harm in trying and you never know, your initiative might impress them and you may snag that internship! See letter writing advice below!