A Guide to Landing your Dream Internship 

The word dream may be a little dramatic when stuck next to the word internship… I mean, you can only glamorize making copies and grabbing coffee for so long. BUT, there is something really exciting about your first real-world job experience, especially if it's something you hope to make a career out of someday.

Since winter break, I’ve been dedicated to finding and securing an awesome summer internship in NYC. I’m not going to lie, the process has been long and a little bit discouraging, but I’ve learned a lot! The following are some of my best tips for getting through this process!


How to get started...

Google jobs, LinkedIn, Indeed, etc. are really helpful for showing the range of jobs available in the field and location you’d like to intern in. But, it can be so discouraging when you find your ideal internship and you see the dreaded small print next to the job title that reads: “200+ people have applied for this position.” 

These huge pools of applications are so impersonal, it can feel like no one even sees your submission. What’s the solution to this dilemma? Small, niche internship websites. You want to find the ones that are not only field specific, but that have connections with the brands you want to work with. I focused my search on positions in fashion/beauty, marketing/PR, and journalism. My favorite websites to find those positions are ED2010, which has exclusively magazine, media, and content jobs, and Fashionista.com, which is (you guessed it) all style and fashion related internships. What’s so great about these websites is that instead of uploading an application through a portal, you submit them by email, so you have the hiring manager’s contact from the time you apply. This helps you to be much more connected from the beginning and makes following up simpler!


The importance of quantity!

I was told to “apply to around 5 to 10 internships per week until you’ve secured one.” That may seem like a lot, but it’s some of the best advice I’ve received. Set aside an hour or two on a couple days per week for you to apply, email, network, and visit your career center (more on that later). In doing that, you are constantly up to date on the newest postings within your field and you optimise your chances of securing an internship. 


Work your connections!

It may seem simple, but your academic and career advisors aren’t lying when they say, “It’s who you know, not what you know.” That’s not to say your skills and experience aren’t valuable, it’s just to emphasize the importance of having a foot in the door. Hundreds of very qualified college students from around the world are all applying for the same prestigious internships in major cities. Not hearing back can be simply because there was no time to look at all of the applications, much less reach out and give interviews. Think about a huge stack of resumes, one of which being yours. Knowing someone at that company who is willing to take the time to find and read yours is super valuable. 


Linkedin is your new best friend!

It’s so important to have a professional and personalized Linkedin profile. Have you ever heard the quote “dress for the job you want, not the job you have?” Think about your Linkedin profile the same way. Don’t leave the default blue banner. Instead, choose something fun that matches your personal brand and aesthetic, and that shows that you have personality. If you don’t know what vibe to go for, look at the profiles of those with careers in the fields you're interested in and take inspiration from the way they present themselves.

On Linkedin, you can search for your dream company, select the “see all employees” arrow, and scroll for people who work in HR or in the department you’d like to intern with. Then, you can begin the cold emailing process.

A cold email is an unsolicited email that is sent to an individual whom you’ve had no prior contact with. These can be really helpful if you’ve found the perfect internship and have applied in an online portal, but want to make sure you get noticed. For example, if you’ve applied to be a social media intern, reach out to individuals you’ve found on LinkedIn who are involved in PR/social media at that company. Send them your cover letter and resume, expressing your enthusiasm for their work and for the position. Then, when they see your application, they already know of you. 


Ask for help from the pros!

Lastly, if you have questions, don’t hesitate to visit Mount Holyoke’s Career Development Center (CDC). I really believe that it’s one of the most valuable services MHC has to offer. They have daily walk-in hours that are great for resume and cover letter help as well as making connections with alum and finding affordable housing for interns.




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