How to Prep for Summer Internships During the Fall and Winter
By Kia Imani
Summer time is peak internship season for college students. Internships allow students to gain hands-on experience, network and obtain some insight on the career fields they’re looking to enter. Sometimes landing an internship can be quite the challenge but with adequate preparation, the process doesn’t have to be that difficult.
A note of advice: the best time to start preparing for the upcoming summer is during the winter and fall months preceding. This type of proactivity can limit the stress and headaches of internship applications and interviews. We developed three simple tips that should help prepare you for Summer 2018 starting Fall 2017.
1. Do Ample Research
It’s very rare that internship opportunities fall into your lap which mean your internship preparation is going to require lots of research. During your free time, take a moment to search for internship and fellowship programs that are geared toward your field. Search keywords in Google that will help narrow down some of the top programs in your field. Additionally, use social media to your advantage. Search keywords on Twitter and Facebook followed by “internship” or “internship program” and you’ll be amazed at the list of programs that come up. Also, don’t be afraid to ask others about their internship processes and see how you can participate next year.
2. Diligently Organize
Once you have a pretty good idea of the program you’d like to apply for, be mindful that each program will also have a different submission deadline. Make note of the deadline and the requirements for each program in a way that will be most efficient for you. A good tip would be to create an Excel spreadsheet dedicated entirely to your internship application process. In the Excel spreadsheet, you can list programs by name, note the respective submission links, list the application requirements and when the applications are due. If you think you’ll need more time when it comes to submitting your application, you can always note the deadline as a week earlier than it actually is. That way you’ve already given yourself an extra week to complete the application if need be.
3. Properly Prepare
Be mindful of the requirements of each program and be prepared to provide the necessary documents. For example, some programs may require recommendations from previous employers or professors. Do you have professors or previous employers that will be willing to provide a recommendation? Since you won’t be the only one seeking a recommendation, give the recommender an ample amount of time to complete the request. Also, make sure your resume is up to date with and that your cover letter is in a good place. As a rule of thumb, one resume and cover letter won’t satisfy every application. Make sure you’re able to easily make tweaks and update your documents to reflect whichever programs you’ll be applying to.
While we can’t provide a foolproof method to the internship application process, we’re confident that these simple three steps will help eliminate some of the hassle. Start your process now to avoid the anxiety of waiting until the last minute. Quality applications require great attention to detail so starting the process as early as possible will be in your best interest.
Kia is a recent college graduate that's simply trying to grasp the concept of "adulting". She enjoys hugs, quotes, a good book, and all things motivational. Her favorite book is The Alchemist and she can watch Girlfriends all day long.