If you’re a student and would love to land a 2015 Summer Internship, the time to start searching is now! I’ve recruited for many intern programs over the course of my career and January is a perfect time to kick off your efforts.
While some companies, especially those with campus recruiting efforts, may get started in the fall, most will start posting summer internships and interviewing in the first few months of the new year.
Ready to get into it? Here are 5 things I suggest doing to get started.
One. Get your application materials in order (resume, cover letter, LinkedIn)
In order to start applying (and networking) it’s important to have these 3 documents in good shape. Make sure your resume is completely updated, and that you’re sharing your experience in the most impressive way possible by writing strong resume bullets (great trick for that here).
For cover letters, follow this simple template and then make sure each one is customized to the job. That’s in bold because it’s really, really important! Don’t cut corners on this.
As far as LinkedIn goes, ensure your experience is up to date, has descriptions under each role, and that you have a friendly and professional photo. Check out this post for more tips on tuning up your LinkedIn.
Start scheduling chats (or informational interviews) with people you know and ask them tons of questions. Ask about their job, what their day to day is like, how they got into that field, why they got into that field, etc.
A lot of people don’t consider chatting with their peers as “networking” but it is. If you know someone who had an amazing internship last summer, get advice from them too. They just went through the exact process you’re about to (and were successful!)
There are so many good questions you can ask someone but the #1 thing to always ask in a networking situation is “what is the best way I can express interest in internships” and if you’re comfortable “is there anything you can do to help me get my resume to the right person?”.
Three. Make a list of ideal companies, check for postings, and set up job alerts
This one is simple. Think of companies you’d love to work for and jot them down. Once you have your list together, check their websites to see if they have any internships posted.
If they don’t, set up a job alert (tutorial here). If they do, move to step 4.
Note: if you don’t see any internships posted by the end of February, consider reaching out with a cold email to ask about opportunities.
Four. Look for additional postings, and APPLY
Add the postings you found at your dream companies to a tracker and start to apply. Remember that for each application you should submit your resume and a customized cover letter (when required).
In addition to looking for jobs at dream companies, you should also search for postings that are already live.
I recommend using sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, and InternMatch to start the search. If you happen to be looking for an internship in the fashion industry, StyleCareers.com is a really good site as well.
I recommend setting a goal of 5 applications per week, but that’s up to you. The more important thing is that you set a goal, and stick to it.
Five. Follow up, follow up, follow up
I always say that no application is complete until you follow up with an actual human and let them know that A. you applied, and B. you’re super excited about the company and role.
If you don’t know someone who works at the company, you can always send a cold email. However, having someone refer you will go a long way so try that avenue first.
Wishing you all lots of luck as you kick off your summer internship searches! Working with people who are looking for internships (in the fashion industry and beyond) is an area I specialize in, so if you’re interested in learning more check out The Prepary’s job search consulting page. Working with an expert can give you a major competitive advantage in your search and make your life a lot easier!