In previous posts, we’ve talked about internship basics. Now, let’s begin applying for internship opportunities.
Make a list of two or three internship sites that interest you. We’ll start small to keep it manageable. In coming weeks, we’ll add additional sites to the list, but for now, stick to just two or three.
Let’s call this list of sites our Round One internships.
Now comes research; you’ll want to answer some important questions. First thing’s first, research if there are any internship deadlines. Take note of these on your internship tracking sheet. Next, research the organization.
- What are their services and/or products?
- Where are they located?
- What is their mission?
- How big is the organization?
- Are they a local, national or international organization?
- Are they a non-profit, government, private or public organization?
- Who would you report to in this internship?
- What department would it fall under?
- How does this internship support the department or the organization?
- Who would you be working with (e.g. other interns, researchers, sales staff, VPs, etc.)?
You might not be able to find out the answers to all of these questions, but the more you know, the better. You’ll want to gather this type of information about each of the Round One sites – you can begin to see why starting with a small list of sites is practical.
Where can you find the answers to these questions? Company websites are an easy starting place, but won’t likely give you all the answers. Some internship books, like those published by Vault about internships may also be helpful – many career centers own these books (or subscribe to web versions). Company fan pages on Facebook will sometimes include discussions about internships and job opportunities. Check out Ernst & Young’s career page for a great example. Company LinkedIn pages are another valuable resource. Of course, an informational interview by phone or in person could yield the most results while also introducing you to the employer.
Although conducting all of this research on every internship site is ideal, it may not be practical, so I’d encourage you to rank your internship sites, conducting the most research on the ones that interest you the most. As I mentioned earlier, the more you know, the better; company information will give you an advantage over your competition.
Once your research is complete, begin tailoring your resume and cover letter for each of the two or three Round One internships.
Finally, send out your application materials for Round One.
Keep in mind that Round One always takes the longest; as you get used to the process of researching employers and tailoring your application materials, the process will get much easier and more efficient.