The stress of finding a summer internship can grow heavier and heavier as summer grows nearer and nearer. This stress can be especially compounded if your friends already have secured internships and you’re still left with no offer in sight. Here are a few tips to help navigate the internship process and how to handle the stress that it will involve:
#1 Utilize your school’s resources!
The career center at your school is your number one resource for all things internship related! From career fairs to alumni networks, the career center is a sure-fire way to network and find openings that you qualify for. Personally, I’ve been able to grow my connections and even asked to interview at companies by simply attending these career fairs and talking to the representatives there. A lot of colleges have a database of former students and where they went off to after they graduated which is extremely useful when you want to talk to someone familiar at a company you are interested in. Make an appointment with an advisor and access these resources to find your dream summer internship!
#2 Use online platforms to grow your network and find opportunities!
In this digital age, online resources such as Handshake and LinkedIn are the prime ways to find internships. Handshake touts itself as the #1 way college students find jobs and has partnered with the majority of universities to connect students to employers. It has an extremely approachable interface where students can easily drop their resumes and cover letters for a position and details any additional information an applicant may know. From using Handshake, I have been able to interview for various companies and even interned at one as well! LinkedIn is another tried-and-true online platform that not only connects you to fellow students and employers but if you search up a company’s name followed by “we’re hiring,” one is also able to access a multitude of internship opportunities and directly talk to the recruiting managers. #3 Practice your interviewing skills!
Going into an interview can be pretty nerve-wracking but practice can help quell those nerves and help you feel more prepared. Pull up a friend and practice behavioral questions as well as case studies if necessary to help you get a sense of pacing and content. If you know who your interviewer will be, make sure to look them up on LinkedIn and take note of anything that pops out on their profile. Moreover, make sure you know the company fairly well and have a list of questions to ask the interviewer. Important questions to mention should concern responsibilities of the position, company culture, etc.
#4 Don’t compare yourself to others!
It’s difficult to not feel discouraged when you see so many of your fellow peers accept offers from amazing companies. During my internship search, I was the last one of all my friends to secure an internship and spent months feeling inadequate as my friends all signed their offers. However, it’s important to know that everyone has their own trajectory and that’s especially true for different business sectors as well. While your STEM friends may be recruiting and signing offers in the fall, other industries, such as public health, start recruiting in early spring. Timelines look different for each person and the company they are applying to so comparing yourself to others do more harm than good.
As you embark on the journey of finding an internship, bumps on the road are bound to occur. Rejections are a common part of the process and the best way to cope with feeling inadequate is to set your best foot forward as you utilize the multitude of resources as well as focus on you and you only.