Internships are not just about learning about potential career options or about making your resume a tad more attractive, it’s also about picking your first real job. By landing a great internship program, you can actually get a sneak preview of how the real world of jobs looks like. While it sounds pretty much exciting, finding a really cool summer internship program related to your major can be a bit challenging. Here’s how you can find a great internship opportunity.
“The distinction between “assistant” and intern” is a simple one: assistants are paid, interns are not.
But of course interns are paid, in experience.”
― Joyce Carol Oates
List internships based on the level of competitiveness
Finding an internship program is just like applying to colleges. Make a list of programs based on their degree of competitiveness and apply to a couple of internships. You should first apply for internships that are challenging to a certain degree, but not unattainable. Also, apply to the ones which seem pretty easy to get into.
Look for major-specific and grade-specific internships
Many internship opportunities are for freshmen. So, if you always thought that internships are only for final year undergraduates or those who are pursuing postgrad, you were wrong. It’s almost a level playing ground for every college student. On the other hand, there are programs that are specifically for students who are studying a particular major. Even if you are a sophomore or a freshman, you might just find exciting internship opportunities around.
Get your resume reviewed by more than a few people
You might have heard zillion times about the importance of having an attractive resume. However, most students do this common mistake of building their resumes hastily. Do not just show your resume to your closest friend, or your parents. Get multiple opinions from your teachers, counselors, friends, and everybody whom you can trust in this regard. Also, find how to build great resumes online.
Ask your mentor for a nice letter of recommendation
Usually, internships these days would require you to submit a letter of recommendation along with a cover letter and a resume. Ask your mentor for a letter of recommendation well ahead of time so you can get it on time. Your professor might ask you to send your updated resume so that he can write a more personalized letter for you. Email your resume to your professor well in advance and remind him of the deadline to save yourself from the last minute cold sweat.
Get prepared for the interview
Perhaps the most challenging part of the selection process for an internship program. Most companies conduct interviews via Skype or phone. If you manage to reach this stage, don’t just cause embarrassment to yourself by failing in the interview. Take thorough preparation and at least, brush up your elementary knowledge of the major you are studying. Wear professional attire before appearing for an interview either via Skype or in person.
The key to landing a really cool summer internship is to have a mindset of a professional. Remember that the company which is hiring an intern is not looking for a student, but a pro with considerable competence. Good luck!