Teen Vogue Interview: How To Start Your Summer Internship Search Now
Though you may be wearing earmuffs and a down jacket, it's already time to start thinking about summer. According to Lauren Berger, the vocational expert behind InternQueen.com and author of the new book All Work, No Pay (Ten Speed Press), summer 2012 is going to be the most competitive internship season yet. Many application deadlines are approaching in March and April, so it's time to start your search. We consulted Lauren to find out how you can be proactive and score your dream summer internship.
Create a list of your top ten companies.
"Make a list of the top ten companies where you see yourself working. One of the biggest problems that I see with students is that they only apply for two extremely competitive internships. If they don't get the internships, they have nothing. It's really important to apply for at least ten internships per semester, and the list will also keep all your applications organized."
Visit the company's website.
"Go to the company website before you apply for the internship, and do your research before you put your materials together. Look at the executive bios. See if you have anything in common with people who work at the company and familiarize yourself with the key players. Read the mission statement, and look for certain buzz words that companies use to talk about themselves. Incorporate those words into your cover letter, and then eventually into your interview."
Find the appropriate person to contact.
"Some companies will have the internship application information listed online and some will not. If you can't find a contact, play detective. LinkedIn is a great resource; you can search the company and find all the employees and their titles. Another trick is to go to the company website, click on a recent press release, look at the publicity contact, and find out the pattern for emails at that company. Don't be scared to cold call a company and politely ask to speak to the internship coordinator. Introduce yourself, say that you'd like to apply for an internship, and ask to whom you can email your materials."
Note the required materials.
"Different internships require different things, and you don't want to send any incomplete applications. Write down the required materials and the deadlines of the applications on your list of dream internships. Always note the day you send out applications because two weeks later, you should send a follow-up email to that employer to confirm that they received your materials."
Give your resume a makeover.
"Make sure that your resume is formatted properly. Take it to your career center at school—every school has one, and even in high school, there are people who can review your resume. Why send out materials that haven't been given an once-over? Tailor your resume and customize your cover letter for the position that you're applying for."
Be succinct and professional in your opening email.
"When you're emailing application materials to your employer, do not send them a novel. In the body of your email, you should not copy and paste your cover letter. Keep that initial email to five sentences: your name, school, major, year of graduation, and the exact term and position you're applying for. Don't write a fan girl letter—and what I mean by that is, 'I've wanted to do this my entire life! This is my biggest dream!' Keep it professional, sweet, and to the point."