Alright, so I’m getting a little more professional today — summer internship hunting is something that has been heavily permeating my thoughts this week as I’m trying to figure out my own summer plans. And as stressful as the process is, nothing is more gratifying than receiving and completing an internship! I think they’re such a fun, hands-on way to learn the insides of an industry you’re interested in, and completing my fair share has taught me how much I didn’t really know about each field I worked in. My first internship was at a newspaper the summer after my junior year of high school. It was my first time interviewing, location scouting, and being professionally published. (I should have realized that passion naturally would’ve manifested here!) I’ve brainstormed 5 tips I’ve learned in my internship process. Hopefully they can be of help to you all!
1. Think about what interests you, even if it’s not your *dream* career.
Internships are the best possible way to “try out” a career before actually doing it. For a little fashion-induced analogy, there was once this time I fell in love (and I mean seriously in love) with a dress I saw on the mannequin in a store. It was splashed with color, the price was right, and the cut seemed absolutely perfect. But when I tried it on, I wanted to love it but I just…didn’t. The fit was off and the color didn’t do much for me. Meanwhile, my mom was perusing the store and handed me a unsuspecting dress in a simple blush color. I tried it on and was amazed at how perfect it fit — everything about it made me smile! Had I not gone to the fitting room, I would’ve walked out of the store with the wrong dress. It’s the same with internships. If you have an idea of a dream career, look for an internship related to it! On the flip side, if you have an interest (even if it is totally unrelated to what you think you want to do), look for internships related to it! Even if you complete an internship and don’t think you’d want to do that job for the rest of your life, you learned a valuable piece of information about yourself and can now devote you energy to other possible careers!
2. Check your favorite companies’ social media.
If you have a specific company in mind that you want to work for, check their Instagrams, Facebooks, and Twitters! Companies will often publish when their accepting summer internship applications on one or more of these outlets. Most first release the information in January-March, and many companies are still accepting now. Keeping tabs on companies’ socials shows you’re engaged, you care for their brand, and you’re not wasting their time. It’s also surprising how many companies offer summer internships! Most do, and if you can’t find information, it never hurts to send an inquiry email.
3. Send cold emails!
What is a cold email? Ah! A cold email is when you reach out to someone without them knowing you. Imagine you want to meet someone you admire so much that you finally just extend your hand for a handshake and hope all goes well. Yes, it’s as scary as it sounds — the first time. But often the potential reward outweighs any nerves you may have, and after doing it once, it’s no longer such a big deal! I should warn you, 9/10 you won’t hear back, but it’s the times you do that seriously count. I received my internship last summer at LOCALE Magazine through cold emailing! I recommend making a list of companies you’d be interested in working for (they can be big name or local!), checking LinkedIn and their website for an individual’s email (try to find an actual person — a recruiter is always great!), draft a short email introducing yourself, and attach an updated resume. And then wait. Out of the 20 or so that I sent last year, two got back to me within a week and a few interviews later, I had a position secured!
4. Use your community.
Ok, I’m planning a post for ya about my experience in my sorority (Chi Omega), but one thing I’ll stress here is how amazing sororities — and college — can be for building a professional network. One of the greatest things about being in close proximity to ~150 girls is that each girl has had diverse interests and experiences, some of which are pertinent to my own interests. So if I’m looking for advice or even to be connected to someone at a company I’m interested in, I have friends I can go to! Greek life is naturally an amazing way to meet people, but every person you come in contact with can potentially help you along the way — you never know! So, keep that in the back of your head, and always ask friends if you’re looking to work in an industry they’re familiar with but don’t know where to start.
5. You’re an asset.
This is one of those phrases that is essential to keep in mind when internship (or job!) searching! What can you bring to the table? That’s the top question you should be thinking about, because whatever you’re applying to is thinking about it too. You need to assert that you’re an asset, and how you’re an asset!! Confidence with experience to back it up is highly respected. Talking about experience is all how you spin it! You learn something from every action you do, so how does what you learn apply to your internship? You are your own brand, and you need to pitch yourself as someone who is going to be invaluable to [fill-in-the-blank] company. This isn’t a time to feel weird when talking about your accomplishments — be straight-forward and proud, and you’ll be a compelling candidate.
Comment below if you have an internship tip!!