SUMMER?! Part Two: “Internships??”

intern

Welcome to the second installment of SUMMER?!, your one-stop resource for figuring out what to do with your life when you’re not in school!

Today’s topic is: Internships!

Some questions you may be having:

  • What internships do I want?
  • What internships can I get?
  • How do I find internships?
  • How do I apply for internships?

I’m going to lay it out for you step-by-step, and in no time, you’ll be an application pro!

The Search

searching

Before you can apply for internships, you have to figure out what you want to do. You should consider things like the location, paid/unpaid status, and field of internships. There are tons of helpful websites to help you do navigate the search.

One of my favorites is Looksharp. With Looksharp, you can search based on many different criteria to find internships that fit your needs. Looksharp also allows you to create a profile so that you can save positions you’re interested in applying for, and so that employers can search for you.

Another great tool is WayUp. It is a relatively new website, so there are fewer postings than more established ones, but when you’re on the market for an internship, it helps to look in as many places as possible.

If you’re looking for a way to work and make a difference in the world, Idealist is a great search service to check out. It’s mission is “to close the gap between intention and action by connecting people, organizations, ideas, and resources.”

Don’t forget the benefits of networking! If you don’t already have one, create a LinkedIn profile. This is the best way to establish a professional network of people who can help you get internships and jobs. LinkedIn also has a job-search feature that you can use to find positions you’re qualified for.

Finally, take advantage of the connections that Wesleyan offers! The Career Center sends out a weekly list of job offers, info sessions, and deadlines that most of us send straight to Trash, but there are often fantastic opportunities (especially from companies with Wes alums) if you’re just willing to look. The Career Center is also a great place to go if you need help with resumes, cover letters, or any other aspects of the job search.

The Narrowing Process

As you’re looking through all these resources, start compiling a list of things that look interesting to you. Most job postings have applicant requirements listed. You should pay attention to these, but remember that they are not the ultimate determinant of if you should apply for a position, especially if you’re a woman. The Harvard Business Review and Forbes have both reported on the trend that women tend to only apply for jobs when they are 100% certain that they meet the requirements, while men will apply if they only hit a mere 60% of requirements. Even if you aren’t sure that you meet all the requirements of a job posting, it never hurts to apply anyways. The hiring team may admire your confidence and offer you the job because you present a good argument for why you are the best candidate, or they may reject you. You’ll never know unless you apply!

The List

list

Once you’ve figured out the types of jobs you want to apply for, make a list of all of them. I like to do this in a color-coded Excel spreadsheet so that I can keep track of all required application materials and deadlines. Below is a sample of my own list:

sample excel sheet

The first column is the application deadline, and the next is the job title (linked to the listing online). The next columns are for different parts of the application (resume, cover letter, questions, additional materials). Each of these categories gets two columns, one to mark whether something is required, and another to mark when I have finished it. Finally, I have a column for the date I submit an application and the date I expect to hear back. Note how I have the entries listed in order by their due date. You can enter the jobs in any order and Excel will sort this for you (select the entire chart, click “Sort & Filter” and then “Sort Oldest to Newest”). The ones that I’ve already applied for I highlight grey, the most pressing deadlines get yellow highlighting, and specific parts I’m missing are highlighted in red. This is a good visual system to help you prioritize what needs to get done.

The Application Process

Now that you have your list, it’s time to apply! You have all of your options, you know all the steps you need to do, now you just have to buckle down and do them! I like to use applications as an excuse to procrastination method for school work (it’s not really procrastinating if you’re being productive, right?). Just pace yourself, and the application process becomes so much less daunting.

In the coming weeks SUMMER?! will go into what you need to write a good resume, cover letter, and generally how to present yourself as the best possible candidate for whatever job you’re applying for!