The Ultimate Guide To A Stress-Free Summer Internship Search

Many of you may read this title and think, "there isn't even snow on the ground yet, summer won't be here for a while, why would I be thinking about internships?" However, if you want to stay on track and get your ideal position, you’re going to want to start as soon as possible! Lucky for you, I'm here to give you my top 5 tips to landing your perfect summer internship.

 

1. Choose an industry.

The first tip is to narrow down your search to a few similar industries or one specific industry. By doing this, you will be able to better focus your search and you will be more likely to find an internship that is in your dream field. For example, if you are interested in a more creative type of job, find what specific industry interests you most, whether it be marketing, design, or public relations, and apply to internships specifically in that field. I highly suggest taking advantage of Career Center programs like “Career Tracks” that allows you to tour various companies within one industry and immerse yourself in typical day-to-day life in each so you can get a sense of where you see yourself thriving the most (whether competitive, laidback, fast-paced or small).

 

2. Do your Research 

Have you ever heard of the quote “Choose a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life?” This same quote is applicable for a summer internship because trust me, you won't care if it's on your resume if you dread coming into work every day of the summer, or even worse, you’re an unpaid intern. It is important to think about what companies you would dream to work for and start your own personal list on your phone. With note-taking, you'll start to hold yourself accountable for researching companies and you can also start looking them up on LinkedIn to see if you have any mutual connections like friends or Lafayette alum! Update your list every few days or so and you will have compiled a list of several places to check out and you can start to pinpoint which Lafayette alumni to reach out to. Even if your ideal company doesn't have an alum working there, you can search through alumni connections and narrow the search with just your major. 

 

3. NETWORK. You can find alumni via LinkedIn, Lafayette's new "GatewayLink" portal or ask the Career Center for a list of alumni in your field of interest, and email them to ask for a "cold call" where you can gain information on their field and the specific job they do. Who knows, maybe you'll end up getting along with them so well that get an internship with them instead! Networking is KEY in securing an interview and Lafayette has the resources for you to reach out to our alumni in countless fields. Getting the ball rolling by simply connecting with people on LinkedIn, searching companies, and emailing alumni will help you be better prepared for when applications start opening up and deadlines approach.

 

4. Create an Excel Spreadsheet

Following your research, create an Excel spreadsheet to organize all of your internship information. List each company along with a contact email address, contact name, company website, application deadline, and a list of the documents necessary to apply. With this spreadsheet, you can keep track of if and when you make contact with an employer, when the application is due, and what documents you need to have for the application. Many companies require more than just a resume and by checking early on what documents are necessary, you won’t be rushing to fill things out at the last minute.

 

5. Organize Your E-Mail Inbox

After you begin contacting the companies you are interested in, it’s important to make sure your email inbox is organized so that you won’t miss any important emails. It is sometimes confusing to remember if the specific company wanted to schedule an interview, hasn’t responded yet, or already sent you the application details. I create a folder in my email inbox labeled “Internship Search” and this is where I put all my internship related emails so that I don’t miss anything. I also like to flag my emails with red and blue flags. The red flags are for the deadlines that are between 1-2 months and the blue flags are for later deadlines anything more than 2 months. With this system, you will definitely stay on track with your emails!

 

6. Cover letter and resume

Lastly, it is important to have an updated cover letter and resume that is specific to each internship you are applying to. While this may seem tedious, the Career Center has plenty of resources like "Resume Riots" and "Candy and Career Chats" to help you out even when you're on a time crunch! Sending personalized cover letters to each company discussing why you would like to work at that specific company will definitely set you apart from other applicants. You can even use the new "Career Vaults" under the Gateway Career Center Moodle Spaces page to see a sample resume for your career field of choice! I also suggest you create a general cover letter and resume that you can tweak slightly depending on what you are applying for.

 

These six tips are sure to help you stay on track and stay organized during the internship search. But first and foremost, you've just got to rip the bandaid off and believe in yourself. You got this. Good luck!