Tips for Applying to Internships

By Alyssa Laffitte on January 14, 2021

Summer internship season is quickly approaching! Even though it’s early, you can start thinking about your internship application process. In this article, we’ll discuss tips for applying to internships.

Start your application process early

Although summer seems far away, it will be here before you know it. Don’t delay starting your internship application process! At this point, you don’t need to do anything too intense, but it would be a good idea to start thinking about things like the type of internship you would like, and which companies you would like to intern for. Once you have a rough idea of what you want, you can start your search.

Look in the right places

Starting your internship search can be overwhelming. Some students might not even know where to start. Thankfully, you have many resources available to you to help you find an internship.

One important resource is your school’s career resource office. They are the professionals at connecting companies with fresh college graduates. They likely know of many good internships available for someone in your field. An internship is also a good way to establish contact with this office, as they will likely be able to help you find a job when you are closer to graduation.

Another resource you could use is job search websites. There are many websites out there to help people find jobs. These websites are helpful for people looking for internships, too. The advantage of searching online is that you can narrow down your search results based on different factors (such as company ratings and location). Spend some time browsing these websites to see what you can find.

Additionally, you could use your own network. College is about networking and meeting people. Is there someone you know who could help you get an internship somewhere? Professors are good people in your network to ask since they likely know many people in the field who might be looking for interns. (Bonus points if they agree to write you a letter of recommendation!)

Finally, you can contact companies directly. This method is riskier than the others, but it doesn’t hurt! If there is a specific company you would love to work for, you can call them and ask if they would be willing to take on an intern. To show them you are serious, you can offer to send them a cover letter and resume.

Be Organized

Since you will likely be applying to multiple positions, it’s important for you to be organized during your application process. Different positions likely have different deadlines and different requirements. Having a system, like a spreadsheet, that outlines all this information in a simple way will be extremely useful to you. In your spreadsheet, you can include categories like the deadline, required materials (cover letter, resume, letters of recommendation, etc.), and company contact information. You can also note on this spreadsheet when you’ve submitted each component of the application to be sure you don’t miss anything. This organized system will make sure you turn in all the correct application components on time for each position you apply to.

Ask for letters of recommendation well in advance

Many internships will require you to provide a letter of recommendation. In fact, they might ask for multiple letters! If this is the case, think carefully about who would write you a strong letter. You could ask a former boss, a professor, or someone who supervised a volunteer opportunity.

Once you decide, you must ask them right away if they would be willing to write you a strong letter of recommendation for an internship. Asking about two months in advance is the standard since it gives them enough time to write a good letter. Don’t be afraid to gently remind them about the letter as the deadline gets closer. Be sure to give your recommenders enough time to write and send a good letter!

Prepare an excellent resume and cover letter

Your internship application will require you to submit a resume and a cover letter. A resume is a document that lists your personal information, education, professional experience, and skills. It should be short and to the point, but specific enough to show the company what you can do. A cover letter is a document that allows you to introduce yourself and explain why you are applying for this particular internship. It’s not meant to be a repeat of your resume; it’s meant to complement it by providing additional information about who you are as a person. If you don’t know how to write these two documents, look up some templates and examples online. You will find many resources to help you write a strong resume and cover letter.

Applying for internships takes time, energy, and patience. If you follow these tips, you will have a smooth application process. Good luck with applying to internships!

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