Let’s be honest…internship season is STRESSFUL. When applications first begin to drop, there seems to be quite a bit of excitement in the air. Everyone is intrigued by all the different opportunities that are open to them. The locality, specificity, agency v. corporate debacle, are all moving parts to establishing the whole of deciding what internships to apply for. And all of a sudden, what was once exciting and seemingly opportune is overwhelming and stressful.
Now, the promising idea of moving far away becomes the stressful logistics of moving far away. Questions like: “How can I afford to move far away? What internship is right for me? What do I want to learn? How do I even find one?” come to mind and can freak you out. Luckily, I am here to tell you, that there are answers to these questions and you will end up exactly where you are supposed to be…so breathe and trust the process.
Here are a few tips to help you get through this tough, yet rewarding season of internship-hunting:
Figure Out What You Want and Don’t Compromise
Like I said, figuring out what you want can seem intimidating. You are right. There are SO many options out there. When you are thinking about this, maybe begin your thinking process by deciding what you would definitely NOT want to do. That will eliminate several options right off of the bat. Odds are, every other skill that you want to learn can be found in an internship one way or another.
Next, when you know what you want to learn, start looking for companies that combine your general interests/passions with those skills — and don’t (EVER) compromise. The most important part of a summer internship is that you develop the skills that can propel you into your future. Take the time to research and ask questions. The rest will fall into place.
Think Experience, not Glamour
Most everyone would love to have an internship at a glamorously popular and prestigious company, but is that what’s right for you? Yes, being able to say that you are interning at a big name-brand company would be exciting. However, this should be the least of your worries. Don’t get caught up in the glamour, but rather focus on where you can find the most experience. Some large companies cannot offer an intern an abundance of hands-on work. Yes, of course apply to the hyper-popular job of your dreams and work your butt off to get it, but don’t disregard another great company, another great opportunity because it seems a little less glamourous. Mold your summer into a well-rounded, practical, exciting experience by interning at a company that can give you the most hands-on activity and best skills. It’s not always about glamour, but more so your experience.
Find and Take Advantage of a Mentor
Having a professional or peer mentor is a wonderful step in helping you feel more comfortable in your internship search. Your mentor can look over your resumes and cover letters as well as calm you down in the middle of an internship search panic (that we know we all have…). Your mentor will know your skills and can give you a different outlook on how you can discuss those skills in an interview or place them precisely and concisely in a resume. Your mentor is there to help you, so take advantage of that!
- Network with your connections
You got this! Now sit down at your computer, outline what you want for yourself and go for it. Use your peers and mentors along the way and you will get through this ever-anticipated, ever-elongated internship season.
If you need any extra internship help (resumes, cover letters, figuring life out), please shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sadie Newman is a junior strategic communication major and our VP of External Relations. Follow her on Twitter @RealSlimmSadie.