So You're Looking For A Summer Internship: Where to Begin

If your winter break was anything like mine, you understand that pitter-patter feeling in your heart with every ping of a LinkedIn notification. Or those pre-informational interview butterflies. Or the feeling of defeat as you put yourself out there as an internship candidate day after day with little validation in return. Part of me hopes you enjoyed your winter break a little more than I did, but for those of you who can relate, I’m here to help! If you’ve already started your summer internship search like me, I hope I can share some valuable insights to keep us going onwards and upwards. And if you want an internship but are a little daunted by the search process, let this be your momentum to get started! We are all on this journey together.

Now, I won’t sugarcoat the process. It’s hard, and it requires some stamina (or lots of coffee, whatever works). The global pandemic yanking the once-abundant opportunities out of our hands certainly doesn’t make our search any easier, but it doesn’t make it impossible! In part 1 of this 4-part series on summer internships, I share my tips for those of you just starting out, including where to look for internships and how to start utilizing LinkedIn in particular to your advantage. This all sounded intimidating to me at first, but after having slid into 37 LinkedIn DMs so far, I’ve gotten the hang of it. And so will you!

Where to look

  1. HireNew. This is The New School’s jobs and internships board and a great resource to start with. Employers that list open positions on this board are indeed looking for New School students, so that’s already one requirement you’ve fulfilled! Access the HireNew platform by navigating to the Apps Locker on your MyNewSchool account.

  2. Indeed, Glassdoor, Chegg Internships, etc. Don’t underestimate the power of a simple Google search! Searching for ‘summer internships new york 2021’ has presented me with some interesting opportunities via the above search engines. Keep in mind it can be difficult to get noticed among a sea of other applicants on search engines like these, but you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take (cheesy, but true)! I landed my current internship through Chegg Internships, so if anyone can assure you to not give up hope, let it be me. 

  3. Friends, family, and professors. Take advantage of all current relationships you have! Throwing a simple, “I’m looking for a summer internship, any possibility you could offer me some advice or guidance?” into a conversation with a family member or a friend is the easiest way to start putting yourself out there. They’ll almost always be happy to help you directly or connect you with others who can. I encourage you to reach out to your favorite professors as well! From my experience, professors are always happy to help former students reach their goals. Shoot them an email with: a) a brief overview of how much you enjoyed their class, b) the industries you’re interested in, c) a request for advice on how to learn more about or enter such industries and d) your availability for a follow-up conversation. 

  4. Alumni. A less direct but equally resourceful method of looking for internships, alumni in your same degree program may give you some pivotal insight on how to get your foot in the door of your industry of interest. One key resource I cannot recommend enough is The New School Alumni Network. I’ve had multiple conversations with alumni from my degree program over break, all of which have been incredibly resourceful!

  5. LinkedIn. Lastly, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend making a LinkedIn account for yourself to begin connecting with fellow New Schoolers and New School alumni. Not only will this allow you to get an idea of what your peers are up to, but it will also give you a vast board of jobs and internships curated to the experiences and interests you indicate on your profile. Another important note: you don’t have to have a job or internship right now to start making connections! Feel free to give yourself the title of ‘[insert major here] at [insert school here],’ or even something like ‘Aspiring Journalist | Student at The New School.’

How to utilize Linkedin effectively 

I know nerding out over LinkedIn makes me sound a little stuffy, but hear me out. LinkedIn has been one of my best friends throughout this process (I wish I were kidding—I may have responded to a LinkedIn notification before an urgent text from a friend a few times), and it’s come to my benefit. Here are some of the things I’ve done on LinkedIn to build my network:

  1. Cross-referencing. When I navigate to the profile of a company I want to work for, I click on the number of employees they have listed at the top of their profile. This brings me to a list of all the employees that work at the company. To find the ones most likely to connect with me, I select “All Filters” at the top and filter the list by entering ‘The New School’ into the ‘School’ category. The result is a cross-referenced list of employees who work at X company AND have attended The New School. Employees are much more likely to accept a connection request from a student attending their alma mater than from a stranger! Feel free to cross reference with other potential commonalities too, such as your high school or a previous employer. Lastly, when you send your request, remember to add a note to personalize it. A template I’ve had success with is, “Hello, I am a [insert year of study] at [insert name of school] interested in [industry] careers and looking to connect!”

  2. Messaging valuable LinkedIn connections. Once I’ve connected with an industry professional, I use the below template to reach out further. I've set up phone calls and Zoom meetings with roughly 60 percent of the people I’ve reached out to, so I’d say this success rate definitely makes the hustle worth it!

     Hello and thank you for connecting with me!

     I am a [insert year] undergraduate student at [school] looking into careers in [industry]. I noticed you’re a [school] alum and have extensive experience in [areas of interest]. Would you be open to speaking with me for 10-15 minutes about your career path?

    Thank you very much in advance! I am available [insert dates and times, or indicate flexibility]. I look forward to hearing from you. 

    Warmly, 

     [Signature]   

  3. Get a free trial of LinkedIn Premium. LinkedIn Premium is usually $30 a month and gives you access to information such as who has viewed your profile and how you compare with other candidates for a particular role. A free trial is good for one month, so use this to your advantage! My favorite part of LinkedIn Premium is the ability to send InMail—messages to people you haven’t connected with yet. I use these with industry professionals I would love to hear from but share no commonalities with, and I would estimate my response rate to be roughly 50 percent. I use the same template as listed above, but instead of bringing up a shared interest or commonality, I say, “I am inspired by your extensive experience in [areas of interest].” 

Next week, I'll talk about how to build professional relationships, including preparing for informational interviews. Best of luck with the start of your job search and your newfound LinkedIn powers!