That time of year is here once again. Internship applications are opening up, and you’re scrambling to make your plans for the upcoming summer. No matter what type of internship position you’re looking for, there are a few universal tips that can help you find the perfect summer gig.
Network with PSU Alumni
There’s no doubt that you’ve heard this piece of advice before, but seriously, it works. Head on over to LinkedIn and start browsing different companies that you’re interested in. LinkedIn allows you to see the people from your school who are currently working at the company you’re looking at, which is such an incredible resource.
Even though it may be scary, the next step is to send a message. If there’s a PSU alum with an HR position or a position within your desired field at that company, they are probably a good person to reach out to. Make your message polite, and ask the person if they have some time to speak with you.
Try something like this: “Hello ____! I hope you are well. I saw that you work at ______ and that you’re a fellow Penn Stater. I would love to learn more about your role because I am interested in entering a related career path. Let me know if you have any availability. I hope you have a great day!”
Forming a connection with a Penn State grad who is doing something you’re interested in can do wonders. They can become a mentor for you, and they can also help you with the recruiting process if their company is hiring.
Talk to Career Services
Penn State has so many amazing career resources, but not enough people take advantage of them. Depending on what college you’re in, there are various people who are there to help you. A great example is within the College of Communications. If you set up a meeting with Bob Martin or Julie Miller, you’re bound to walk away with a list of companies and resources for you to kickstart your search. You can also check out the Bank of America Career Services building, located near the Eisenhower Parking Deck.
Career services can also assist you with brushing up your resume and cover letter, so you can get the best outcome when applying to positions. It’s important for these documents to be well-organized and engaging, so hiring managers and recruiters are able to get a clear picture of your experience and your strengths.
Being prepared for the interview process is also a key part of the summer internship search process. Career services, whether it be general or within your college, can help you conduct mock interviews and provide you with important tips.
Take Advantage of Extracurriculars
The clubs and organizations you’re involved with on campus are a great resource for your summer internship search, especially if the extracurricular relates to your desired career field. Reach out to people in your clubs if you know they have an experience that you would be interested in. Organizations on campus typically have connections and recommendations for students to assist them in career development.
If there is an active advisor for the organizations you’re involved in, they are also a great person to talk to for more information. If they have experience in your desired industry, they have the ability to point you in the right direction, and even put you in contact with industry professionals.
Alumni are not the only people you should be connecting with. Forming valuable relationships with fellow students in your extracurriculars could also lead you to your next internship or career move. Any kind of connection can get you a long way.
Look Anywhere and Everywhere
During college, it’s important to realize that any experience relating to what you want to do, is a good experience. Look for every possible opportunity that matches up with what you want out of a position, and apply to all of them. The more positions you apply to, the more likely you are to get more offers.
Research prominent companies in your desired field, and frequently check their websites to see if they post about an internship program. You can also email the company directly, or an HR manager, to express your interest in an internship, even if they have not posted a formal position. Also, make sure to check with brands you enjoy personally to see if they have related internship positions to your major. If you’re passionate about the brand itself, it gives you an advantage in the recruitment process.
The summer internship hunt can be intimidating and overwhelming, but if you use your network and use all of the resources that are provided to you, we can assure you that you are bound to find an opportunity. Tweet us at @VALLEYMag how you found your summer internship!