How a College Student Can Get an Internship: Tips and Strategies
If you're a college student looking for an internship, it can be tough to know where to start. This blog post will walk you through the steps of finding your perfect summer internship - from deciding how much time and money you have available to explore different options, all the way down to what should go in your cover letter. We'll also talk about how employers view interns versus other types of employees, so that you can make sure they take notice when interviewing with them.
How do you find the right internship? What should your cover letter say? How do you know if an employer is interested in what you have to offer? We will answer all of these questions and more! Check out our blog post on how a college student can get an internship: tips and strategies.
Tips for finding the right summer internship:
Tip #1 - Play to your strengths
Find an internship that is a good fit with what you're interested in and what you know how to do already. If accounting isn't really your thing, don’t try to apply at a company where they need someone who knows how to sort through their books! You will end up wasting time, energy and even money applying for internships that aren't going to be beneficial for either party involved. It's important not make any assumptions when searching though - if it seems like an interesting opportunity, don't write it off just because of one little "flaw".
Tip #2 - Search far and wide for your perfect internship
There are several types of summer internships that you can search for. Most will be in your local area but many others will be completely “remote,” or only expect you to come into their office once or twice a week. Wherever the internship is located, the only way any type of internship is going to help boost your resume and skillset is if it's relevant - there's no point spending time at someplace where everything seems boring or pointless because then the experience won't be helpful in the long run. When searching online job postings, use keywords that match your interests or desired career path. Remember that these labels aren't always 100% accurate so include more generic terms like “summer intern” and “summer associate,” then do your research before applying.
Tip #3 - Research companies before sending out applications/emails or attending interviews
This sounds pretty obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people don't do their homework. One of the best ways to start this process is by reading through any current or past content that these companies have posted online (e.g., blog posts, press releases, etc.). This can help give you an idea about what they are like as a company and whether it might be worth your time applying there in the first place! Also make sure to check out their website - does it look professional? Does everything seem up-to-date? These things will carry over into interviews so take note if something seems off.
Tip #4 - Develop a summer internship cover letter that shines
Your summer internship cover letter should include information about where you found/heard about the position, why you want to work for the company and what you hope to gain from an internship with them. A summer cover letter should be upbeat, enthusiastic and highlight why you would make a good fit for this specific opportunity - it shouldn't come off as full of fluff or generic! Make sure your name is at the top along with contact information so they can easily get in touch if interested.
A summer internship cover letter example:
Dear XYZ Company Internship Program Coordinator,
I saw that ABC Company was looking for interns on Career Builder last week while I was searching online job postings. After doing some research and reading a couple of your company blog posts, I feel that my summer internship with you would be both personally and professionally fulfilling.
I am extremely passionate about [insert one or two things here] because [insert reason why]. In addition to the skills I have already mastered in school/on my previous job, I think an internship at ABC Company could help me develop [insert new skill set from research above], which is something I would love to add to my resume. My summer availability will be flexible so if we can collaborate on a schedule that works for everyone involved, then please consider me as a candidate! Thank you very much for your time and consideration regarding this matter - looking forward to hearing back from someone soon!
Sincerely, Your name
One More Tip
For college students, summer internships are an excellent way to get experience and make connections in your field, but it can be difficult for college students. We’ve compiled all the tips and tricks you need to know about finding internships by providing some basic advice as well as more complex strategies that will help you stand out from other applicants.
And here’s one more tip for how to stand out – add some professional certificates to your resume! Sign up at WorkforceReady.org and earn your first professional certificate today. All 100% free!