How to land your dream internship

career advice internships

Internships help college students gain experience and try out different fields before graduation. You can think of internships as a 10-12 week job interview with a company. Many companies look to hire a certain percentage of their internship class back as full time employees. But not all internships are created equal, so use the following tips to help you navigate your next steps:

Tip #1: Choose the Right Internship

The right internship will be one that provides skills and experience that align with your long-term goals. If you are unsure of your long-term goals, an internship can also help you try out a field and figure out what you like (or don’t like). Sometimes figuring out what you don’t like can be as important as the reverse. An internship at a big company can be valuable, but working at a smaller company and gaining relevant skills can be just as valuable as a big-name company. Your first internship may not be exactly in the role you want in the future, and that's okay. Gaining work experience and transferable skills can still help you achieve your long term goal. I currently work as a molecular biologist, and my first internship was actually in a technology role. My technology role was at a pharmaceutical company, so I highlighted the relevant pharmaceutical experience when applying to full-time laboratory roles at Pharmaceutical company. 

Tip #2: Build your Resume 

Applying to internships many students find themselves at an infinite loop of needing experience to get hired, and not being able to get experience because they struggle to get hired. 

The hardest internship to land is your first one. Once you have work experience, it's easier to stand out from the pool of applicants. When you do not have previous internship experience, think of how your classwork, personal projects, volunteering, or work experience align with the requirements of the job.

Companies typically do not expect interns to come in with a huge array of skills, so if you can show passion and interest for the field, you can increase your chances of getting hired. A student I know earned a Technology Internship at Johnson & Johnson by showing an algorithm he made in his free time to predict fantasy football rankings. You can also highlight related projects from your coursework, or any volunteer experience.  Tailoring your resume to each specific job posting is also important. Many companies use an automated Applicant Tracking System to screen candidates, so be sure to include keywords from the job description in your resume. 

Tip #3: Network

Another important way to stand out is through networking. If your school hosts a career fair, or networking events, make sure to visit the booth and attend as many events as possible hosted by companies you're interested in. Even if they are not hiring for your specific area of interest, networking with individuals who work at the company may help earn an introduction that lands you a job. For smaller companies, contacting hiring managers on LinkedIn may help you stand out. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to data, because interviewers will often  search you ahead of time. Reaching out to school alumni on LinkedIn, or asking professors if they have any connections can help as well. Building your network is one of the most important ways to land internships.

Comments

topicTopics
academics study skills MCAT medical school admissions SAT expository writing college admissions English GRE MD/PhD admissions GMAT LSAT chemistry strategy math writing physics ACT biology language learning graduate admissions law school admissions test anxiety MBA admissions homework help creative writing interview prep AP exams MD study schedules summer activities history academic advice career advice philosophy premed personal statements secondary applications computer science organic chemistry ESL PSAT economics grammar admissions coaching law statistics & probability psychology SSAT covid-19 legal studies 1L CARS logic games Spanish USMLE calculus dental admissions parents reading comprehension research Latin engineering verbal reasoning Common Application DAT excel political science French Linguistics Tutoring Approaches chinese mathematics DO MBA coursework Social Advocacy academic integrity case coaching classics diversity statement genetics geometry kinematics medical school skills supplements IB exams ISEE MD/PhD programs PhD admissions algebra athletics biochemistry business business skills careers data science letters of recommendation mental health mentorship social sciences software engineering test prep trigonometry work and activities 2L 3L Academic Interest Anki EMT English literature FlexMed Fourier Series Greek Italian Pythagorean Theorem STEM Sentence Correction Zoom algorithms amino acids analysis essay architecture art history artificial intelligence astrophysics cantonese capital markets cell biology central limit theorem chemical engineering chromatography climate change clinical experience cold emails constitutional law curriculum dental school distance learning enrichment european history finance first generation student fun facts functions gap year harmonics health policy history of medicine history of science information sessions institutional actions integrated reasoning intern international students internships investing investment banking logic mandarin chinese mba meiosis mitosis music music theory neurology operating systems phrase structure rules plagiarism poetry pre-dental presentations proofs pseudocode quantitative reasoning school selection simple linear regression sociology software study abroad teaching tech industry transfer typology units virtual interviews writing circles