What You Should Know Before Hunting for an Internship

As spring finally comes around to State College, every student at PSU has more than a few things to stress about … but possibly the most stressful of our spring semester worries, is the daunting search for a summer internship.

VALLEY understands the struggle, so we’ve brought together everything that you wish you knew when you first set out to snag your first unpaid, summer-long taste of the work force.

Take Advantage of Your Resources 

First and foremost, use everything that your college has to offer. Whatever your major, from communications to engineering, the specific college that you’re enrolled in at Penn State offers career and internship specific advisors who work solely to help you find that perfect internship. Along with meeting with your internship advisor, be sure to break out your best business casual and visit PSU’s career fairs on the internship and co-op specific day. If you ever need help perfecting your résumé or cover letters, Penn State’s Career Center provides free online help that will leave your applications glowing.

Apply, Apply, Apply 

This tip might seem a little obvious, but we really cannot emphasize it enough. While it might be tempting to apply for two or three internships, then call it quits and hope for the best, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Put in that little bit of extra work to search for internships relevant to your career goals and apply like crazy. VALLEY recommends sending in at least 10 to 15 applications to maximize your chances of being accepted, and to hopefully allow for a few options when the time comes to make a decision.

Do Your Research

When it comes to your résumé and cover letter, of course it’s important to focus on yourself, but always be sure to add in information specific to wherever you may be applying. For example, while starting your cover letter off with the classic “To Whom It May Concern” might do the trick, a greeting that’s personalized speaks volumes. By looking into the company that you hope to intern for and learning the name of whomever will be reviewing your application, it’ll show that you’re a lot more invested in both the application and the company than a cliché greeting would.

Aim High, But Stay Grounded

Absolutely apply for that internship at Vogue, but don’t completely cast aside the internship at a local newspaper. While VALLEY more than encourages you to chase after your internship dreams, when it comes to nailing down your first internship, don’t underestimate the skills you’ll be able to gain from interning for a smaller company or publication. Don’t worry — there’s always time for Vogue later on!

Don’t Freak Out

After you’ve reviewed your résumé so much that you could write it down from memory, and after every application has been triple-checked and sent out — it’s just a matter of waiting. Our best advice? Don’t panic. While that may be a lot easier said than done, if you’ve taken advantage of those college resources we’ve suggested and put some extra work into scouting out what internships would be the best fit for you, VALLEY guarantees that you’ll make out just fine.

Happy hunting!

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