Students Offer Tips for Finding Summer Internships

What Worked for Others May Work for You

Photo © Alberto Pomares Gonzalez @

I often hear stories from students who are having a difficult time finding a summer internship. They say they feel like they are wasting their time applying to positions online since it seems so impersonal and there are a multitude of people applying. Students often get overwhelmed with all of the online databases and information available and wonder if there really are any good positions out there for college students.

The answer to this question is a resounding, YES!

I’m going to tell you about some of the internships that students I know are doing. But first, I’m going to provide some tips that these students shared with me on what they think helped them to successfully land a summer internship.


  • I used my Career Services Office at my college and they offered a wealth of information and advice. I was able to connect with one of the alumni from my college who just happened to have internships available.


  • I began looking for an internship rather early (November) because I knew if I waited I would be bogged down in coursework and would probably miss the deadlines. I checked out databases provided by my Career Services Office, such as: Monster,, InternshipsUSA, and Spotlight on Careers.


  • I worked with my Career Services Office at my college to get their expertise on writing effective resumes and cover letters and learned how to target these documents to the position for which I was applying.


  • I followed up with each of the organizations that I sent resume and cover letters to. I expressed my interest in interning with them and asked if they needed any additional information from me and when they planned on making their hiring decision. The next week I received 3 callbacks that I really don’t think would have happened (at least not 3), if I hadn’t followed up.


  • I contacted several non-profit organizations in my home town to see if they offered summer internships. I ended up getting an internship with one organization and volunteering once a week with another.


  • I changed my voicemail message on my answering machine (a little less hip) and made it sound more professional.


  • I deleted some information (and pictures) on Facebook to ensure that employers would not formulate a bad impression based on some things I posted on my site. I heard that employers often check out the social networking sites to find additional information on their applicants.

By using the strategies above, these students were successful in getting internships with the following organizations: Merrill Lynch, MTV, Planned Parenthood, The Museum of Modern Art, The Children's Center and Research Center in Oakland, CA, The Boston Phoenix, and the Sierra Club. You too can find a variety of internships by using one or more of the strategies listed above.

If you have completed an awesome internship or worked for a great company, please be sure to nominate them for the 2012 About Readers' Choice Awards Program.

If you'd like to share your internship story, we'd love to hear about your experience.