I know it’s crazy to start talking about summer considering we just celebrated Christmas, but summer is only a few short months away. Along with the warm weather, college students will start working as summer interns. In order to land a great summer internship, you need to start early. In fact, you should have already started. Typically, students begin applying for summer internships during the fall semester when colleges hold their career fairs and the application process lasts through late March. It’s important to get started on applying for internships now for a variety of reasons, some of which I highlight below.
If you are planning to intern at a government, financial or engineering firm, many of these companies have early deadlines. Some government agencies have a deadline that has already past. The reason for the early deadline is due to the lengthy background checks the agencies perform on potential interns. It is important to know these things so you are not caught off guard when you go to apply.
Positions Fill Fast
Many times it is important to get your application is early so that you don’t run the risk of missing out because the positions are already filled. I know at my old employer, we usually had our roster of interns filled even before the deadline came. Even though students got their applications on time, they were still out of luck.
This is especially true now with the poor economy. More students are applying for internships because jobs are scarce. Knowing that the competition is fierce, it makes it important to get your application in early.
Concentrate on Your Studies
Another reason to get your application is early is so that you don’t have one more thing do. Many colleges and universities don’t start back up until mid-January. Now is a great time to take advantage of your winter break by getting in all of your internship applications, or doing the legwork so that when you head back to college all you have to do is complete the application. This way, during the spring semester, you can focus on the important things, like your studies and where you are going for spring break.
Even if you don’t have access to your career center during break, you can still get a lot accomplished. You can jump online to company websites that you are interested in working for and reading up on their internship guidelines, or even reach out to the human resources department for more information. You can also ask friends and family and visit any local businesses you might want to intern for to get more information. Don’t think that just because you can’t talk to a guidance counselor at college you cannot get anything done.
As I have pointed out above, it is important to get started on the internship process early. These same tips apply to the seniors out there that are graduating in the spring. Now is the time to start looking for a job. While many others are not thinking about a job, you can contact companies and get an idea on any upcoming open positions or find out what the hiring process is like so you can prepare yourself ahead of time.
Lastly, if you haven’t found an internship yet and it’s late in the season, don’t give up all hope. You can still apply as some companies might have an intern back out or have a few extra positions open up. The chances are slim, but it is still worth the shot.