First, don’t be afraid to head over to your college’s career center to see what resources they have both in-person and online. Many colleges have digital databases where students can check out internships. In addition, a lot of times these databases contain information on students or alumni who have worked at a particular company in the past, giving you the opportunity to network with these people and set up informational interviews to learn more about their experience at a company you’re considering.
SUMMER INTERNSHIP TIMELINE
One of the most important ways to explore your career options and get hands-on job training while still in school is to engage in a summer internship. The key to landing the right internship is not only knowing what you’re interested in doing but also when you should apply, it’s also important to know the timelines for different fields and what you should be doing each semester to ensure that you land the summer internship of your dreams.
DECEMBER/JANUARY – GET ORGANIZED
Decide which companies or types of companies you’d like to work for. The company’s website and/or your career center portal will likely have those dates published months in advance, so you can schedule reminders and plan your time accordingly. This varies according to industry and company size. Large, well-established companies (Goldman Sachs, Amazon, Chase) will have very structured recruitment processes that will likely move very quickly (networking, applications and interviews will be wrapped up by January). Create a spreadsheet to keep track of every internship you’re interested in.
• Name of internship opportunity
• Whether the opportunity is paid or unpaid
• Materials and Deadlines for the application
• Name and contact information of the hiring manager (so you can follow up)
FEBRUARY/MARCH – START APPLYING YOURSELF
This is going to be your BIG application months, and while it’s going to be a lot of work, you have to do it to land your perfect internship! Late February and early March marks the time when companies start interviewing serious candidates for positions. If a company reaches out to you, make sure you respond quickly and politely to figure out when and where you’ll be interviewed. Additionally, a large portion of your internship decisions will start to come around mid-March, so be sure to communicate with employers in terms of when they need a decision from you.
APRIL – MAKE UP YOUR MIND ALREADY
If you haven’t committed anywhere yet, it’s time hunker down and make up your mind!
If you’ve already committed to an internship, make sure you’re talking to your employer about next steps, like putting you on payroll, submitting forms, and any other pre-internship onboarding processes. Definitely don’t slack off on filling out forms and going through these steps! Not only does it look bad if you’re not on top of it, but you could also potentially jeopardize your internship for not filling something out on time.
Remember Allison, It’ll all be worth it when you’re chilling at your dream internship next summer.