Your academic progress is certainly important to recruiters, but they want to see something else. Namely, real life experience. That experience can be hard to come by, unless you are willing to work as an intern.
A summer internship can give you the foundation needed to qualify for certain jobs. If that internship goes beyond the summer, it can also make you a stronger candidate, including for the company where you interned.
Here’s how to snag a summer internship this year.
1. Start now. Summer internships begin to fill fast. The prime positions start to fill early in the year. By spring, the numbers have dwindled, although some opportunities will remain until the end of the academic year. But don’t wait: begin to research the companies of interest to you right now.
2. Visit your college’s career services office. Your college wants you to succeed academically as well as with your career. That is why every college has a career services office or department, where students are aided in their quest to find work. Specifically, your college works directly with some companies to provide interns. Thus, it would behoove you to find out more. Make an appointment with your career services office immediately!
3. Follow the career fairs. Career fairs are not just open to college seniors. If you are a junior looking for an internship opportunity, update your resume, suit up and attend every job fair on campus. When speaking to recruiters at companies that interest you, explain that you are a junior and are looking for an internship opportunity. The recruiter may not be there to fill intern positions, but your interest can be passed on to Human Resources for their reply. Furthermore, get names and contact information for everyone you meet.
4. Build and extend your network. Whether you realize it or not, building a network early on in your college tenure will benefit you as you look for work. It isn’t just the number of people you know, but the ability of these people to help you out. And vice versa. Specifically, you want to liaise with people that have connections, including other students that have already completed their internships. Faculty, alumni, and community leaders can help you as well. Meanwhile, connect on social media, using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as your primary sources. And be careful about what you post as it can come back to haunt you!
5. Become a student of your industry. You have a certain industry in mind when you graduate. Therefore, it is important for you to know the movers and shakers out there. Specifically, what are the top companies? Which companies are up and coming? Who are the industry’s main influencers? How can you get to meet these people? For this purpose you will need to commit the names of key individuals to memory.
6. Pay your visits. If you are invited for an interview, by all means go. Even if the company is not high on your list. You will get a chance to see the company in person, meet with an executive or two, and learn more about the business. You may discover that they have something of interest to you. Moreover, you may have something of interest to them.
To sum up, pursuing a summer internship is done best when you get started sooner, rather than later. Yet, don’t fret if you’re not on top of things because as long as you are tapping into a network and telling people what you are looking for, then you can score the summer job of your dreams.