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How to Apply for Summer Internships

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Summer Internship Season is Here!

Internship season is upon us!  You’ve either got one, are still in the process of looking for one, or don’t plan on doing an internship this summer. This article speaks to students that are still looking to find an internship for the summer.

Many students freak out over the application process.

In addition to college coursework, papers, and exams, sports, and co-curricular activities, students often find themselves stressing out over what they are going to do for the summer.

Their parents and friends may keep asking them about their summer plans. They also may be hearing about the great internships other students have landed and then get even more stressed out when they see internship flyers posted all over campus. Many students express that they feel anxious because they don’t know what they need to do to find a summer internship or that they don’t have time to adequately plan or apply for internships for the summer.

Creating an internship plan is a key ingredient to successfully landing your summer internship.

Your first line of defense is to make an appointment to meet with a career counselor in your college’s Career Development Center. Career counselors are there to help you with every step of the process. They can help you to create your resume and cover letter, if you don’t already have one, as well as direct you to resources that can help you find a summer internship in your area of interest or field of study and in a location where you will be living over summer break.

Finding internships.

There are many resources that you can use to find internships in your area of interest. Your Career Development Center is there to steer you in the right direction. You will be amazed at all of the resources they have to offer, so it’s very important not to by-pass this crucial step.

Preparing you application documents.

I often tell students that if you do not take the time to write a strong and effective resume and cover letter, that you are just shooting yourself in the foot since most employers are inundated with applicants for summer internships and jobs. This is one of the main reasons why you will want to take the time to plan out your documents beforehand.  Once your documents are completed, you will want to have someone you trust look them over and then take them back to your Career Development Center for one last critique.

What constitutes a good resume.

Your resume is a professional document that primarily lists your education, previous experience, and other activities and skills that are relevant to a particular internship or job. There are certain things that you will want to keep in mind while you are creating your resume.

  1. Does your resume look professional
  2. Does the resume include relevant coursework, previous internships and jobs, volunteer or community service projects, your unique skills (computer, foreign language, etc.)
  1. Is it consistent (be sure to be consistent in how you develop your resume; for example: if you capitalize or bold headings, if you abbreviate states, how you list your dates, if you put periods at the end of each bullet point, etc.)

Again your Career Development Center at your college can be of enormous assistance as you work to complete a resume that you feel comfortable sending out to employers. Be sure to check out this video for more internship resume tips to help you.

What to include in a cover letter.

It is up to you to identify what makes you stand out as an applicant. What are our skills and accomplishments?  What sets you apart from other candidates? What is something unique about you that makes you the perfect candidate for a specific organization?  These questions are some of the things that you will want to include in your cover letter.

A cover letter is meant to compliment your resume.  Although a resume and cover letter may include similar things, your cover letter is more personal and is a way to not only show the employer that you understand the organization; but a way to show them that you also have the knowledge and skills to be successful when hired on as part of the team.

What to do once your resume and cover letter are completed.

Once you are comfortable with your resume and cover letter, you will want to begin sending out your documents. Taking a proactive approach when looking for internships, will lead to a higher rate of success as you wait to hear back from employers. Be sure to send your documents out to each and every internship that you are interested in.  You may want to be a flexible in your search and not keep your search to narrow.  My recommendation is that if you meet at least 80% of the qualifications of the internship, that you go ahead and apply.  The employer may see something on your resume and/or cover letter of interest and decide that what you have is more important than meeting all of the requirements listed on the posting.

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