It’s usually right around April when it happens. Suddenly, all of your classmates and your friends are all scoring the internships of their dreams and have the most glamorous plans for the summer—and you’re left scrambling for opportunities. A similar experience happened to me during the summer after my freshman year. I had been caught up in the wave of finals and packing, and I hadn’t even thought about what I wanted to do during the next few months. All I wanted to do was relax!
But I didn’t know that the problem in the internship world nowadays is that the best internships require previous internship experience (what a paradox). Luckily, I had older and wiser sisters who recommended that I take advantage of the time I had—both during the summer and even during the school year—to make connections and beef up my resume. So, after a lot of research, I managed to score an internship at a small start-up outside of Boston.
The internship changed everything for me. It definitely opened up many opportunities for me last summer, but it helped me to realize what kind of working environments I thrived in (for example, I work best with small teams and deadlines). It also taught me what strengths I had that mattered in the workplace and how to articulate them to future employers in interviews.
I know I don’t need to sing the praises of internships since that is so emphasized on our college campuses as it is. But I do want to share the tips I picked up along the way, so I can help you find your own internship this summer!
1. Start early.
I usually apply for summer internships in the middle of February at the latest. Medical and business internships may begin their application processes earlier, so if you have your heart set on a company or one of those fields, make sure you are familiar with the deadlines, as they often require recommendation letters that you should ask for well in advance!