6 ways to land the perfect summer internship

Jene Thomas – General Assignment Reporter 

For many, summer is all about one thing. Freedom. People find themselves on the beach, either down at Hammonasset or perhaps abroad in Spain or Jamaica. However for many college students, this time away from classes is the perfect opportunity to get a leg up on the competition.

The best way to find out if you are in the right field for you is to work there. Internships are ideal for college students who want to get real world experience and the best part is that companies are willing to help. The opportunities are out there; you just have to be willing to do the work.

Explore options.  Find all of the local companies that cater to your specific needs. If you’re a nursing or public health major, contact the hospitals and health clinics around you. Though it is always recommended to aim high, don’t sell yourself short. Sure, apply to Yale-New Haven hospital, but branch out.

Look up Middlesex hospital in Middletown or Saint Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport. Do a simple google search for smaller clinics. Everyone is going to apply to the bigger places, but tend to overlook smaller venues. You may be surprised as to what you will find. Just keep track of deadlines.

Perfect your resume. While employment agencies may like that you’ve joined a fraternity or sorority, professional organizations stand out because they show employers that you have a serious side. Perhaps join your major’s professional society and add that to your resume.

Highlight your leadership capabilities. Were you an RA or a part of SGA? Include that information. Are you more factual and scientific or are you more of the creative poet? Write down the skills you have.

Don’t forget to proofread. If you’re having difficulties, bring your resume over to career services or your adviser to see how you can improve.

Do the research. After a little bit of time, you know where you want to intern. Now would be the time to let them know how much you know. Look up the company’s facts and figures. What were their sales last year? When were the established? What are their goals and expectations? Who’s on the staff? Are they working an independent research projects?

These are questions to look up. Companies will notice and take kindly to the fact that you’ve done your homework. It shows you know what kind of place you want to work in, but more importantly that you can figure things out on your own.

Spend a little to earn more. Whether the internship will pay you or not is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that it is a job, more important than your typical summer job at a froyo shop or at the mall. You’ll need to dress as if you’re serious. Dress as if it’s your career, because one day it very well might be. First impressions are everything. You’ll more like to get the job dressed in a nice pair of slack, a clean and ironed shirt and a correctly sized blazer over the person in jeans and a t-shirt.

Go to the mall and shop for that perfect interview outfit. Though Forever 21 is always a favorite, check out stores like Cache and Banana Republic that cater to older, working people.

Be prepared. With just the right amount of skills and luck, a potential employer contacts you to schedule an interview. It won’t be enough to just look your best, but you have to be THE best. Practice answering some of those typical interview questions. Have the answers to how you could contribute to the company and what makes you the best candidate. Focus not only on what you’ll gain but what the company could gain from hiring you.

Good luck!

Photo Credit: Manish Rai Jain

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