Often students do not give much consideration to internships during the fall semester, often thinking that they only happen in the summer time. However, many organizations and companies offer unpaid and even paid intern positions throughout the year!
Applying for internships includes almost the same procedure as applying for a regular job- application, networking, writing a resume, and even a cover letter. It might seem tough, but it is worth it! There are so many companies in the DMV area that are looking for fresh, enthusiastic and bright minds like yourself whom they are willing to teach new skills (and even pay for it!)
Fall might be less competitive in the DMV area as you are only competing against the students that attend school in the area where the organization is located. Come summer, you are competing with the world!
The employer usually posts an internship 7 to 10 weeks prior to the internship start date. So, if you are dreaming of landing your internship this September- mid-July is the time to start applying.
Here are some suggestions before you start applying:
- Identify a minimum of 10 companies where you wish to intern.
Research the companies where you want to work and review their websites. You can even contact the Human Resources Department to possibly speak or meet with someone in their desired field. It is all about creating opportunities.
- Prime Your Resume.
Be sure to include your current internships, prior positions in your resume, and your LinkedIn profile. If you didn’t have any internships, you should have a compelling story detailing what you have been doing.
- Determine Your Availability during Fall Semester.
Most VIU students can take on about 10-20 hours of internship work a week with a 12-credit hour course load. Be realistic about your workload, class schedule, and internship timeline.
- Get Letter of Recommendations and Identify Your Professional References.
Start looking at what companies you’ll be applying to for a fall internship and whether or not they require a letter a recommendation or just professional references. Ask current or former employers if you can list them as a reference. If they’re unsure what to write, give them a template. And if you don’t have an employer or manager to ask, try emailing a professor instead.
- Leverage Your Network.
Do you happen to know anyone that already works at your dream company? Do you have a friend that knows someone that works there? Any connection, even if it’s a third-party connection, is better than no connection.
- Ask About Full-Time Positions
There are usually no guarantees that an internship will lead to a permanent position at the company. However, asking about opportunities to join the organization on a permanent basis once you land the position or even during the interview is more than fine. In fact, it gives the company to consider the possibility of hiring you full-time or even creating a new position for you if your performance and skills set are outstanding.
Need help putting together a resume, cover letter, or general career and internship tips? Schedule an appointment with the VIU Career Center firstname.lastname@example.org today!