Working an internship during school can be one of the most valuable and coveted opportunities for students and new grads. Internships give professional work experience and help set students up for success! Some companies even using internships to fill their new graduate hiring pipeline.
However, finding a relevant internship has started to become more competitive, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.My experience looking for work this summer was quite stressful! To help other interns have a smooth and stress-free experience, I wanted to share the advice and tips I’ve learned as an incoming fourth-year university student with a few internships under my belt!
The Early Bird Gets the Internship
One thing I was unprepared for prior to my internship hunting experience was the timeline for recruiting. Many companies, particularly larger ones with an established internship program, start recruiting as early as the Summer prior (August) for a summer internship starting in May. Depending on the industry, internship recruiting can happen anywhere from a year to a few months before your actual start date. So, it’s important to be aware of these dates in order to start preparing.
In my experience, creating a master spreadsheet was super helpful for keeping track of application deadlines and ongoing interviews. Additionally, conducting research on your target companies and specific internship programs during the school year is a great way to familiarize yourself with timelines before the recruiting period.
Craft Your Personal Brand
Just as some of your favourite companies have a memorable employer brand, your personal brand is just as important for helping employers put a name to a face and keep you top of mind in the recruiting process. When developing your personal brand, think of who you are and what you want to be known for professionally. For example: An engineering student who is passionate about technology consulting, or a design student that wants to move into the tech industry as a UX Designer.
Your content and presence online should reflect the persona you want to be known for. This will help you build connections with others and leave a strong impression. I recommend LinkedIn if you’re just starting to build your personal brand. LinkedIn allows you to establish yourself by posting relevant content, filling out your profile, following industry leaders and companies, and engaging with others that work in your desired industry. In my experience, connecting with people that I am acquainted with in real life helped build a strong online network that has helped me professionally!
Show up at Company Events
One of the most effective ways for landing an interview in my experience has been attending recruitment events, informational events, and case competitions hosted by target companies. Many companies use these events to meet interns and scout out potential. Consistently showing up to speak to company recruiters or representatives can take you far! Your school can be a great resource for hosting these types of events. Companies will often visit schools or host virtual events just as they’re gearing up for recruitment season. These events will most often also have open networking – an amazing experience to pitch yourself and your skills!
Get Involved on Campus
Some of my greatest connections have come from my involvement in student-led organizations on campus. These organizations, particularly clubs geared towards professional development, often have ample networking opportunities for both company representatives as well as peers in your program. Holding executive positions is also a great addition to your resume and shows companies that you’re a well-rounded candidate!
Don’t give up
Searching for a job is always daunting. For students that are looking for an internship, the process can be very stressful. Some internship programs can get competitive and you might find yourself interviewing for the same roles as your friends and peers.
After going through multiple rounds of interviews for a company just to be rejected at the last round, I felt unmotivated. But it’s important to remember that recruiting can be a numbers game. Another great opportunity might be just around the corner!
I hope that you find these tips useful and that they help you land your dream internship! To help you during your next internship or job search, here are some relevant blogs to check out: