How to Land a Summer Internship

It’s summer internship application season, and the words “panicked” and “stressed” are floating around more often than ever. Her Campus Wisco is here to remove those words from your vocabulary and replace them with “excited” and “confident.” Wondering how to send in the best application possible and ace your interview? Here are the top ten steps you should follow to secure that coveted summer internship:

1. Perfect your resume

Make sure your resume gives an accurate description of who you are and what you are qualified to do. This is potential employers' first impression of you so your resume needs to best showcase your skills without exaggerating or over doing it. Don’t let your boss see that you are incapable of mastering skills listed on your resume.

 

2. Use multiple job-hunting recourses

 

Finding jobs to apply to is easier than you may think. Be sure to check websites such as LinkedIn and WayUp, which are set up to help you with opportunities like this. You also need to leverage relationships with other people. Ask friends who have similar interests what they’ve done in the past and if they can refer you to a specific company. Professors and alumni are also well connected, so be sure to ask if they know of any opportunities! You can also meet recruiters and make connections with companies by regularly attending career fairs. If you have a good conversation and feel like a fit for a certain company, give them your resume and ask them to think of you next time they have a job opening! 

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3. Reach out

This ties into number 2, but is worth reiterating as its own step; leverage your networks! All of those connections you have made over the years eventually come in handy. Do not be afraid to email or call the people you know to ask for advice about jobs or companies you are interested in. UW-Madison alumni seriously love to chat with current Badgers so don't hesitate to ask for help!

So you've landed an interview... now what?

4. Do your research

Chances are you know a bit about the company you applied to (at least, you should), but to really nail an interview, you need to study up more. Learn about the company's mission and new initiatives, any partnerships they have, and corporate culture! 

5. Rehearse

Leading up to the interview, be sure to run through practice questions and responses. Ask a friend of family member to give you a mock interview. UW-Madison's career office also offers this service. Take the mock interview seriously – this prep will up your self-confidence and improve your ability to think on your feet!

The interview is TODAY, help!

6. Dress professionally

First impressions go a long way – they can even be a deciding factor. Get a good night's sleep before the big day and pick out your outfit beforehand. Make sure you are dressed cute, corporate-like, and comfortably, no matter the scope of the job. Be confident in your skin and refrain from fidgeting with your outfit. It's better to be over-dressed than dressed too casually. 

7. Be timely and polite

In order to start the interview off on the right foot, you need to be on time. Your best bet is to arrive 5-10 minutes before the interview. Stay off your phone while waiting. When you meet whoever you are interviewing with, reach your hand out and introduce yourself! Smile, look the interviewer in the eye, and remind him/her how honored you are to have been given this opportunity. Remember what your dad always told you - no limp noodle handshakes!

8. Ask good questions

When the interviewer says “Do you have any questions?” do not respond with “No.” Come prepared with a few questions to show you are knowledgeable about the company and eager to learn more. If you ask questions that are already answered on the company website, you can pretty much kiss the internship goodbye. Your only questions also shouldn't be about next steps or pay. If you know who will be interviewing you, it can also be beneficial to look them up and you can ask them a more personal question, like what they enjoy most about being a position title here

9. Say thank you

Immediately following the interview, send the interviewer an email thanking them for their time and reiterating your interest in the job. Include information you have learned from the interview and let him/her know you are “looking forward to speaking again soon.”

10. Relax

After you thank the interviewer, there’s not much you can do but wait. If you did your research, showed up on time and put your best foot forward, just relax! Try not to get too anxious, but if you haven't heard back in two weeks you could reach out to ask if the company has an approximate timeline. If you do send a follow-up, be sure to again state your interest in the role and how grateful you are for their consideration! 

Applying for summer internships is only as hard as you make it. If you prepare, dress appropriately, and smile everything should go well. Good luck, everyone!