As Spring Break season comes to a close, that only means one thing... summer internships! Now is the perfect time to begin preparing for opportunities and setting yourself up to be in the best position possible to acquire these upcoming experiences.
Know Where To Look
When starting off your internship search, you need to know where to look! That means going beyond just your average google search. Here are a few tools we recommend you take advantage of:
- LinkedIn is an incredible tool to utilize during this process because you can directly connect with employees who work at the company you want to intern at!
- Find people currently working in the position or department that you want to be in, then look at their skills and qualifications. See if you have any shared connections with these employees and if so, reach out!
- “48% of businesses say that their top channel for quality hires are employee referrals.”
- Follow companies you love so that you can stay up-to-date with their news, events, and openings, and be sure to mention these tidbits in your interview so it’s clear you did your homework.
- Glassdoor, especially its Glassdoor for Students platform, is a fantastic resource for deep diving into the specifics of internships! You can read more about the company’s culture, the expectations, roles, and responsibilities
- You can also narrow down your search by location, job title, company name, and salaries
- Check out their Career Path Overviews as well for help in planning your next application
Networking is Key
Building authentic and genuine relationships is essential when going into any career. Being intentional about wanting to know more about someone's profession and how they got to where they are in their life will help give you more insight into your own career path! A great way to do this is to set up informational interviews with people in the careers you are most interested in. Once you schedule an interview with them, be sure to follow up afterwards with a thank you email.
It’s not just about making connections but about maintaining them as well! Some of our favorite questions to ask during your informational interview:
- What are your main responsibilities as a [insert title]?
- What is a typical day (or week) like for you?
- What do you like most about your work?
- What do you like least about your work?
- What kinds of problems do you deal with?
- What kinds of decisions do you make?
- How does your position fit within the organization/career field/industry?
- How does your job affect your general lifestyle?
More can be found here: https://career.berkeley.edu/Info/InfoQuestions
Another great way to network is through groups and associations. This can be through joining clubs or organizations on campus, through religious institutions, MeetUp groups, or even joining Facebook groups. Just make sure to nurture these relationships - your “rolodex” is only as valuable as you make it.
Research and Stay Organized
Before you start looking at a bunch of different companies, we recommend you create your own list of what you want from a company first. This is a similar approach that you’d use when looking for a full-time job. This includes writing down whether you want to be a part of a small or mid-sized company, a startup or corporate or a for profit or non-profit. Environment is a key factor as well… where do you see yourself living? What type of company culture do you want to be a part of? Once you narrow down your own preferences then it will be easier to narrow in on a few companies and create your contact list from there.
Look into the new product releases of the companies you’re interested in, any initiatives they are involved in, who the owners are and how the company came into fruition! Knowing this background will give you a well-rounded view on whether or not you feel like the company is a good fit for you as well.
Organization is also crucial during this process. The best way to do this, is to create a spreadsheet with the different companies you are interested in, their contact information, when you have reached out to them and when you have heard back from their end. This way you know when to follow up if needed!
Have Resilience and Patience
With any job or internship, it’s important to be adaptable. Things may not always go as you’ve planned it and that’s okay- sometimes our greatest lessons are learned from our setbacks. In hindsight we realize that it gets us into the position we are currently in, which can be fantastic! Having patience with yourself and the process, is key to building self-confidence during this time. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and encourage you to accomplish your goals-- no matter how big!
Applications are now open for our summer program!
Ampersand’s FREE 10-Week Virtual Career Skills Bootcamp offers:
- Guaranteed Internship Placement
- Weekly 1x1 coaching & mentorship
- Intensive personal brand, resume, cover letter and LinkedIn development
- Career exploration & personality assessments
Make this summer meaningful and leave with incredible skills and knowledge under your belt that will immediately set you up for an incredible future!