Summer internships are often on the minds of many college students as summer approaches. For many students this is a way for them to get in the work experience, networking and the chance to explore career paths. Internships are a great way to see if the industry or career path is right for you, and if that is what you want to be doing for the next 30 years of your life.
Since most internships posted are for juniors going into their senior year, it is harder for rising sophomores and juniors to obtain an internship. Firms are looking for students who are about to graduate, so during the summer they can train to start working right when they graduate. So, rising sophomores and juniors, don’t feel left out if you can’t find an internship. Get in the work experience, sharpen up your resume, and apply next year.
When applying for internships there are usually a couple components that are super important: resume, cover letter, interviews, and networking. These components often make or break an applicant’s chance to get the internship/job. Internships and full time opportunities at companies and organizations are often particular when it comes to the hiring process since they want someone who is passionate about the industry and can handle the work.
Different industries start their recruitment process for interns and full-time employees at different times. For example some banks and financing firms start their internships recruitment one year before the summer internships program starts. Different industries follow a different schedule, but speak with the career office to find out when you should start looking for internships. It’s better to start looking earlier than later.
Resume and Cover Letter
- A resume and cover letter are often the first thing that recruiters and employers look at when they are hiring. Big companies often have a system that screens resumes without a human looking at it. The system looks for specific key works on the resume, and if the key words are not on the resume it will take it out of the applicant pool. Having specific key works on your resume may help you stay in the applicant pool for consideration.
- A resume and cover letter for a college student should never exceed one page. Always make sure your resume is not over this length This is a rule followed by many college students and recruiters. If your resume starts going over one page, condense your experience and activities into shorter sentences, change the spacing, and consider taking off activities or clubs that are less important.
- Work on your resume with career advisers. Make an appointment with the career office to meet a career counselor to work on your resume. They are the pros when it comes to resumes and can help you format your resume, along with making sure you include the keywords that companies look for.
Interviews are a way for the recruiters and the team to get to know you, and meet you to see if you are a good fit for the team.
- When you are invited for an interview, prepare for it by looking up the company to see what they do and look into who you are interviewing with. Doing homework on the company will show them that you are interested because you know a good amount of information about the company and the role.
- Have a list of around 3 questions to ask at the end of the interview. At the end of most interviews, you will be asked if you have any questions. It’s always better to have a list so that you will not seem unprepared. Ask the interviewer about their experience at the firm.
- Don’t be nervous. It’s sometimes obvious when someone is nervous for the interview, which is completely normal. Think about the interview as networking. It’s a way for you to learn about the company and also a way for them to learn more about you, to see if you would be a good fit for their team.
- Dress professionally. Regardless of if the interview is remote or in person, always show up in business attire.
Keep in mind interviews are also for you to meet the team to see if this career, firm, team is a good fit for you. The interview is also for you to interview them to see if this position, firm, team is a good fit for you to help you grow. If you think that from what the interviewer is telling you about the company and job is not something you expected or desire, you might want to reconsider joining the company.
Networking is important. It is a way to learn about other people’s career journey and for them to tell you more about the work they do. It’s a good way to hear from people who were once in your shoes and what they learned from their experience.
- Reach out to Alums. Whether they are recent grads or someone who has been in the industry for a while, reach out to them to learn more about their experience. Since they are at different stages of their career, you can hear more about the industry from different perspectives. Reach out to them through LinkedIn It’s a great way to meet alums. They are always glad to help out someone from their alma mater.
- Reach out to upperclassmen. Upperclassmen such as seniors were probably just in the same position, and they can tell you about their summer internships experience and potentially connect you with someone currently working at the firm or the recruiter they worked with. Since they just went through the process, they can give you more information about the firm and their hiring process.