Being a college student is not so easy. You should keep so many things in your mind if you want to stand out among other students in the class. Some of them even don't affect your academic performance. But ask yourself: why are you here? Do you want to get A-grades, or your primary goal is to build a successful career?
We bet you're a high-flyer, and it means you should think about your work experience right now since it is a vital part of your career path. But what should you do if you're not able to work full-time because of your studies? Though you know your final goal, you can't just skip college and set off on some kind of adventure.
The summer internship can be your solution. It is a perfect opportunity to gain experience, develop your skills, and broaden the knowledge. And it can become a good line in your CV. Besides, you never know whether it will be a one-season journey, or you get a job offer when the internship is over. In any case, students who work while their peers are watching Netflix, have much more opportunities.
Now, when you understand that it is your chance to express yourself, it is necessary to stop for a while. You need to find the internship program, research its requirements, write your cover letter, etc. We recommend you start this preparation process in advance so that you know when the application process for summer internships starts, and don't miss your deadline.
Where to Find Internship Opportunities?
First of all, try to get the most out of your high school or college. Head over to its career center to ask about available programs. Many educational institutions have digital databases where you can find a good offer. Don't hesitate to accept other career services like help with your CV or cover letter, masterclasses, unpaid internships, and so on.
The next option is to check industry blogs. They contain information about companies that are looking for summer interns, specific programs, job search tips, etc. It is a good chance to find out about some startups that are not famous enough but are able to provide you with the experience you need.
Keep your eyes and ears open, and let everyone around you know that you're looking for a paid summer internship. Write down all interesting opportunities and highlight the start date and the deadline for all of them. It is time to start the preparation.
When we say "in advance", we mean really early. Autumn is the time when you need to get yourself situated and to start thinking about plans for the next summer.
It would be a bad idea to find a list of internship opportunities and just apply to all of them. You need to find something that meets your professional interests and that will help you to earn some brownie points. Besides, your cover letter should be personalized, and it is impossible when you know nothing about the company. You will need to ask your professors to write recommendation letters, and it takes time as well.
That's why you need time to research the market, find information about companies on social media, understand their requirements, and fill in some gaps if necessary.
Now, when you have a shortlist to companies and internship programs, you need to approach the application process responsibly. Though you're not a real professional yet, it is essential to start working on your reputation. You can't skip informational interviews or send poor cover letters because recruiters will remember you.
So, try to make the right decisions: choose the companies you really like and make sure your application meets their expectations. You still have enough time before most deadlines, and it means you can polish your skills and boost your grades if necessary. For example, if the company of your dream is looking for a computer science intern, it may want you to work with specific software. Take your time to master it, and it will make your internship application more powerful.
Winter can also be a good time to work on your cover letter. Think of what do hiring managers expect to read from you and write several drafts to practice. You can also hire a professional author who will help you to convey your thoughts and express yourself.
It is important to understand that each company has its own deadline and requirements. That's why you can't just apply for all programs at once and call it a day.
There is a check-list that will help you stay organized and relaxed throughout the whole process:
Make your schedule. It would be a great idea to print a big calendar with boxes for each day or the week of the application process. Fill them with the most important information: the company's title and the deadline. It will help you not to forget about some programs and think about only one task at a time.
Get your "application packs" prepared. Create folders on your desktop for each program you're going to apply for. They should contain all necessary documents, including recommendation letters.
Ask for professional help. If you're not sure you're able to devote enough time to the application process because of your studies, it doesn't mean you should give up. You can outsource this task to experts who will ensure you haven't missed something vital.
Ask for feedback. When you're applying for internship programs and discuss these opportunities with recruiters, use this situation to your advantage. Try to analyze your weak and strong points, areas of development.
Now, when you understand that the application process requires much time and effort, you are already one step ahead. It is the perfect place to start working on your knowledge and skills and to build great plans for your future career. It will be a summer you'll never forget!