College students are frantically trying to land internships for this summer. There are so many options, and yet so many questions. What kind of internship do I want? How do I get one? How do I keep one? What am I looking for? How do I decide? First things first, calm down. Then, read this list. It will set you on the right track, the track of a successful summer internship you’ll never regret.

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 1) Know what you want

It is extremely difficult to pin down the perfect summer internship if you have no earthly idea what you are interested in. Knowing what you want can be as simple as knowing what city you want to be in, what sector you want to be in, or what kind of environment you want to be in.  

Think about what internship opportunities would make you happiest. What internships would serve as great bridges to future internships and jobs? What cities will offer you the most at your internship office, and outside of it? These are all things to keep in mind when narrowing down what you want in an internship.  

Going in to the internship search without some narrowing topic in mind will leave you lost in a sea of opportunities, which will leave you extremely overwhelmed and exhausted. A couple questions to narrow your field will serve you well in the long run.

 2) Perfect your resume

One of the first things you’ll be asked for while looking for a summer internship is your resume. Often times, internships will just want you to send your resume and wait for their response. To be the best possible candidate you can be, you need to perfect your resume before you start sending it out.  Sometimes, certain skills and experiences are better fits for certain jobs. Perfect your resume and have a few versions that enable you to apply for any job and be the perfect candidate.


RELATED: 4 Things You Have To Include On Your Resume To Set You Apart


3) Learn how to write a killer cover letter

Cover letters and resumes go hand in hand, but a cover letter takes a little more work. Each cover letter will be tailored to each specific job, but that doesn’t mean you can’t perfect the formula.  While you will change some parts of your cover letter for every job, the general gist is always the same. Learn how to market yourself in the opening paragraph, which experiences you’ll highlight for each type of job, and how to summarize in a way that will get you the job. Once you have written one great cover letter, you can write a hundred. You’ll want your cover letter to be as great as your resume. Let them build off each other, and avoid letting one eclipse the other.  

 4) Practice interviews

The scariest part of the application process is an interview. There are timeless questions that are asked in every interview, and yet we still panic when we are asked them. The best way to combat this fear is to practice, practice, practice.  Practice interviews with anyone who will let you. Other friends going through the application process and peers who have already landed successful internships are valuable assets as you practice your interview skills.  


RELATED: 5 Common Interview Questions and How to Ace Them


5) Work your connections

One of the best ways to secure a good summer internship is by making connections in the realm you are trying to enter into. For example, I have a great internship lined up for this summer all because of some awesome connections I made during my internship last summer. If this is your first summer internship, don’t fret. You still have connections. Think about your jobs on campus, your friends and family, your professors, and the other services offered by your school’s office of career strategy.  Your older friends and peers have landed internships in the past, so use them as valuable resources to find future internships and excel in the application process.

 6) Apply for more jobs than you could take

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. You may find one internship that seems perfect, and you know that you are the perfect fit for the position. Then, you wait. You wait some more, and nothing comes to fruition. You don’t want to miss opportunities because you are blinded by one golden opportunity.

It is fine to have your eyes set on one high goal, but don’t let that clog your vision from other opportunities.  Apply for any internship you are interested in. You may be perfect for all of them, but only God knows what goes on behind the scenes and in the minds of people making the final decisions. It is better for you to have several offers to choose from and have to say no to some than to be sitting in your last final of the spring semester without an offer on the horizon.

 7) Know your budget and fund it

We all dream of the perfect internship, making money like you do in a summer at Google or Microsoft. Unfortunately, more often than not an internship is not paid.  That does not mean you have to say no, however. There are ways to fund your summer internship without breaking the bank.  

Fellowships and other sources of funding are readily available from your university, but you have to do the work to earn them.   Before you apply for any source of funding, or before you start spending your first paycheck, you need to have a budget in mind.  Fellowship applications will require it of you, and it is the best way to ensure you come out in the black and not in the red.  Look for funding opportunities in every nook and cranny, and you’ll be able to fund your summer.


RELATED: 13 Ways To Stay On Your Budget Every Month


 8) Accept an offer only if you know you’ll keep it

It is a dream come true when you have multiple internship offers knocking at your door. Basic laws of physics and time tell us that you won’t be able to accept every offer that comes your way, even if you want to.  Maybe one of those offers is from your dream job and the choice is easy. More often than not, the choice isn’t easy, and you’ll have to think hard about what offer you’ll accept.  

Keep in mind your preferred location, your preferred sector, and your budget when you are deciding and you’ll be set for a happy summer. Take your time and be careful when you are choosing, because it is hard to go back once you’ve gone in.  You don’t want to leave a sour taste in an employer’s mouth by reneging on your offer weeks after you accept it. If you are still unsure, let them know that you are still deciding and will be in touch shortly. They will appreciate that a lot more than having to replace you later on down the road.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member