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So You’re Looking For A Summer Internship: Patience, Patience, Patience

We’ve finally made it: the fourth and final part of my series on navigating the summer internship search process! It’s been a grueling couple of months of research, networking, and interview prep, and now we’ve reached the point where… we wait. You’ve had one or more successful interviews, have wordsmithed your follow-up emails to perfection, and now are “looking forward to hearing next steps,” a classic conclusion to just about every email I’ve sent over the past few weeks. Regardless of whether or not you’re with me in this final stage of internship acquisition, I hope my last few tips on second and third interviews—and the agonizing waiting period thereafter—can prepare you for what is to come in your oh-so-bright futures. Speaking of bright, I’ll also mention that glimmering light at the end of the (seemingly eternal) tunnel: the internship offer! 

First of all, you should be incredibly proud of yourself to have gotten to this point. It’s exciting to be fully submerged in the recruitment process after having done all the work to make yourself known at the company or organization. You may find yourself in one of three scenarios:

  1. You’ve done your first interview and are waiting to hear if you’ve been selected for a second round. This is one of the hardest parts of the process. You’ve put yourself out there, advocated for yourself as a great candidate, and are now hoping something stuck with your interviewer. Patience is a virtue here! Beyond a prompt and polite follow-up email to your interviewer expressing your appreciation for their time and consideration, your next step in the recruitment process is no longer in your control. Control freaks like myself may have a tough time surrendering our powers to the universe, but there isn’t much else we can do. As much as I’ve stressed the importance of being proactive, this particular step of the process requires us to be reactive. Mentally prepare for both good and not-so-good news, and once the news has been received, then you may engineer your journey towards a summer internship accordingly.
  2. You’re preparing for another interview round. Congratulations! It’s a great achievement to have been selected for a second, third, or even fourth-round interview (fourth-round interviews are a thing, but whew! That’s exhausting!). Each interview will likely be with a different interviewer, so be prepared to reintroduce yourself. Make sure to keep your elevator pitch strong and to freshen up on those stellar academic or professional examples to reference when answering interview questions (re: STAR method). Some extra research on the company or organization won’t hurt, but you’ve ultimately done a lot of preparation for these subsequent interviews at the start of this process. All there is left to do is stay confident and chug right along! 
  3. You’re waiting (and waiting, and waiting) on a final decision. This stage is probably the most exciting, yet stress-inducing, part of the process. Not a hot take, I know. Just like scenario one, there’s not much you can do here besides have patience—and lots of it. When your recruiter says, “We’ll have a decision to you by the end of the week,” expect to hear back by the end of the following week. The amount of time it takes for a recruiter to get back to you has little to do with the nature of the decision. Who knows—they may be taking the extra time to get your offer package together! Wishful thinking, perhaps, but in my experience staying positive was the key to staying sane. 

Side note: You may find yourself in different stages of the recruitment process with a number of different companies. Tracking your progress with each company can get overwhelming, but trust that it will end well. Stay focused, and remember you’re in multiple interview processes because multiple companies are interested in you! 

If scenario three above works in your favor, you will have received an internship offer! Your next steps may vary depending on how many other recruitment processes you are in. If the offer you’ve received is a no-brainer, it will be such a relief to remove yourself from the other application processes and accept the offer, effectively ending your internship search process. Woohoo!

If you’re excited about other potential offers, make sure you know how much time you have to accept your initial offer. If the company gives you a week to decide, it may be worth letting the other companies know of your exploding offer and requesting an expedited decision process as a result. However, if the company gives you 48 hours to decide (in my case), you may have no choice but to terminate your other recruitment processes. Regardless of the spot you may be in, receiving an offer is a huge feat given the scarce opportunities presented by the pandemic. You should be incredibly proud and excited to have reached your goal of getting that summer internship you’ve wanted so, so badly. Congratulations!

Thank you so much to all of you that have come along this journey with me over the past few months. I’m thrilled to be interning in New York this summer and I can’t wait to hear about the opportunities you’ve scored, too. If you have any questions or would like to chat about anything I’ve discussed since part one of this series, feel free to DM me on Instagram or connect and message me on LinkedIn!

Best of luck. You’ve got this!

Sabrina is a third-year student at Parsons School of Design studying Strategic Design and Management. She enjoys writing about beauty, lifestyle, and fashion, obviously. When she's not catching up with friends over a cappuccino, she's probably journaling or cutting up old magazines for her latest collage.
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