If the recent Polar Vortex has taught us anything, it’s that winter is very much alive and well. While you’re sitting by the fire or trying to shovel away all that snow, you’re probably counting down the days for sunshine, clear skies, and of course, that valuable summer internship.
Isn’t it too early to start thinking about summer internships? After all, you may have just landed a spring opportunity or participated in a short winter internship. However, the time to start researching, creating contacts, and putting yourself on the path to nabbing a summer internship is now.
As with any job search, finding the right opportunity takes time, sometimes spanning many months. The sooner you start building and following through with your summer internship plan, the more success you’ll have.
Assuming you have the next five months to dedicate to your summer internship search, use the following timeline to steer your way to the right opportunity:
February: Do your research and create contacts.
Initially, you need to do ample research. For example, evaluate what you want out of a summer internship, be it skills building or the future opportunity for a full-time job.
In addition, understand when companies hire. Many large organizations have already jumped the summer internship gun and have begun recruiting at events like campus career fairs or hackathons. For startups, it’s a bit different. Smaller firms typically don’t anticipate their hiring needs in the same way as larger companies do. Roles are usually posted later, such as February through March, and they typically hire later in the spring, such as April through May.
After the research process, creating contacts can help you to get an “in” with an organization. Since most job openings, including internships, are filled through networking, it’s important to gain those contacts who can push you through the door.
Tip: Adjust your internship search based on your ideal organization.
For example, if your target organization is done hiring by March, rev up your efforts so you’re on their radar. Don’t forget the power of social networking. Introducing yourself to an employer on LinkedIn or participating in Twitter chats can help you to create those key contacts, too.
March: Apply with ingenuity.
The application process may be congested with internship candidates who are just like you: smart, eager, and motivated young professionals who want that key opportunity. However, with about 250 applications per job opening, how do you stand out from the competition? Apply with ingenuity.
Applying with ingenuity means thinking of new, innovative ways to apply for a position. For example, a company recently extended a job offer to a woman who had Vine resume. Coming up with a hiring campaign, like Google, Please Hire Me or Dear Lisa Rudgers, is also a great way to set yourself apart. If you create buzz and grab the attention of an internship employer, you can increase your chances at standing out.
Tip: While these are great ways at getting noticed, follow the guidelines of the internship employer.
No matter how great your application materials are, if they don’t follow the rules, they may mess up your chances.
April-May: Maintain your reputation.
While you wait to hear about your summer internship, it’s vital to maintain your reputation. An employer may be listening to what you say, especially on your social media profiles. This doesn’t mean you have to go radio silent, though. Use this to your advantage.
For example, try to post, tweet, or share industry-related news often. Blog about your opinions regarding a shift in your space or your experience volunteering with a relatable cause. Create discussions that show your expertise. These all help employers to see that you’re active in your industry, keep up with trends, and have the necessary skillsets to succeed.
Tip: Try to interact with your target internship employer.
For example, respond to questions or send them links to relatable news. Creating a conversation is a great way to get noticed.
While this timeline won’t work for every summer internship opportunity, use it as a guide for your search. Stay on track during winter and spring in order to nab the right summer opportunity for you!
What do you think? Are you looking for a summer internship? What’s your plan look like?
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