It’s that time of year! The days are beginning to grow longer and warmer, and you might have even considered venturing outside without a jacket. Summer is almost upon us!
Along with trips to the pool and a break from school comes the possibility for summer internships. Though it may still seem far away (especially with final exams in the time between), the best time to start looking for a summer internship is right now! Companies are on the prowl, and competitive summer positions may not be open for much longer.
If you’re beginning to panic, take a deep breath! Our experts are here to help you maximize your summer experience.
Use all available resources
It’s true that looking for an internship can be a stressful time, but luckily for you, you’re not alone! As a college student, you have many resources at your disposal. Eddie, Hiring Expert at Quest Diagnostics explains these resources: “To land an internship, you have a few avenues. First, continue to visit the career center. Second, talk to the professors in your major. They may have relationships and can help you get a job. Third, talk to upperclassmen in your major. I actually landed my college internship through the student network and that turned into a career. Fourth, try to diversify your use of job boards. Fifth, call companies or organizations directly in which you're interested. That sends a good signal about your eagerness.”Ref Link 1
Many students only search for internships on job sites like Indeed without fully utilizing the resources their college has to offer, and that’s a mistake. The career center is there for a reason; they want to help! If you haven’t visited them yet, see what advice they have to offer! Also, most college career centers have an online database to compile jobs that makes it easier to sort by internships and field of interest.
Additionally, if you’ve really connected with any professors, it’s not uncommon for them to want to help you out. Most professors either worked outside of academia previously in their careers and might still have connections, or otherwise have friends who might be looking for interns. Remember, sometimes when it comes to job hunting, it’s not what you know but who you know that can land you a position. Don’t be afraid to use all of the resources at your disposal to help you find a summer internship.
Especially if you’re a younger student, it’s possible that you won’t find an internship in your desired field this summer. While that’s perfectly okay, it doesn’t mean you should spend the summer lazying around your parents' house - look for any position that you can put on your resume to aid your job search in the future.
Lina, Hiring Expert at ADP explains that “If you aren't able to get an internship, don't forget that there are other ways to still gain experience and develop transferable skills. A part-time job in retail or food & beverage will still help you gain soft skills that you can transfer to other roles, so you can always start there.” If you happen to live near campus, “Another good place to look for internships or part-time jobs is on campus. Check with different departments to see if they're hiring because they tend to be a little more flexible with requirements than a traditional company, and it's really convenient to work on-campus.”Ref Link 2
If you don’t want to work in retail or food, summer is an especially great time to find positions in summer camps. Working as a camp counselor can show off your leadership abilities and is a great way to develop transferable skills to put on your resume.
Find what you enjoy
It can be difficult - especially for many underclassmen, who haven’t been exposed to major classes - to determine exactly what type of work is the right fit for them. The best way to discover what you like to do is by experiencing different positions with different responsibilities.
Carrie, a Hiring Expert at Textron Inc. explains how you can do just that, all in the span of one internship: “Some companies have rotational programs where the employee would do different rotations during a select period. A rotational program would be a full-time opportunity that might help you decide which area you could focus on without doing another internship.”Ref Link 3
Remember: while it’s always better to enjoy what you do, even an internship that you don’t enjoy will still create valuable skills and experience to put on your resume!
This summer, resist the temptation to stay home all day every day. Find something to occupy your time, whether that’s a summer internship or a temporary position with a job. Don’t be afraid to use all of your resources to land a position, and remember that anything that you gives you skills to put on your resume can only help you in your future job search.