5 Tips for Getting Your Dream Internship

This is the time, during the school year, when I start to scramble to my professors for recommendations, have an unhealthy amount of tabs open and update my resume constantly. Alas, it’s internship season! Trying to balance the stress of schoolwork with a multitude of applications makes for a stressful spring. 

As someone who is going through the process myself, I have come up with several tips to try to keep the internship application process as easy as possible, while still getting that dream internship in the big city!

  1. 1. Make a spreadsheet

    I was so eager to start looking at summer internships in Washington, D.C. that I started writing them down at the end of last summer! No internships for the summer were open, at that point, but if a company has a fall or spring program, it probably has a summer program. Make a spreadsheet to organize the exhaustive list of potential companies to which you can apply! My spreadsheet lists the company, when the application opens and closes, the pay (if applicable), a link to the company's website and what documents are needed. This is a good way to stay organized and ensure you don’t miss crucial deadlines.

  2. 2. Apply early

    Speaking of deadlines, it’s better to apply early. To save yourself from the stress of procrastination, which is easier said than done, it is better to apply as early as possible. Some companies reserve the right to accept applicants before the deadline closes, especially if it is a rolling application. Furthermore, applying early will prove to the recruiters that you are organized and on top of things, and you'll break the stereotype that college students always complete their work last minute!

  3. 3. Adapt your resume for each internship

    Especially for the double majors out there applying for internships related to either subject, change your resume to fit what the company is seeking! Here's a hint: most resumes are sent through a machine to see if they fit the job description. Subtly add a few words and phrases into your resume that the scanner will recognize as a potential match for the company! The same thing goes for the cover letter. If an internship wants someone with “excellent communication skills,” put in the cover letter and resume that you have “excellent communication skills.”

  4. 4. Dress professionally from head to toe 

    I know many people who dress professionally on the top and wear their best pair of Spongebob pajama pants on the bottom for a video interview. While this is obviously the most desirable option, do not do this! Speaking from experience, many recruiters will ask to see that you are dressed professionally from head to toe. A recruiter told me that the applicant before me was wearing pajamas for pants. Needless to say, she clearly was not impressed, and I’m sure I will not be seeing that person in the company office, this summer!

  5. 5. Ask questions

    This goes for both a part-time job and a big internship. When a recruiter asks if you have any questions for them at the end of the interview, have a question ready! This can be as simple as “What does a typical day as an intern for this company look like?” or “Who will I get to work with on a day-to-day basis?” Having a question ready shows the recruiters that you are not only interested in their company’s work, but also eager to get started, if they offer you the internship! 

While I am nowhere near certified to help someone get that dream internship, following all of these tips has helped me land that big internship for the summer in my dream city. Happy applying, everyone!