Hey, college students, welcome back to school! Oh, and by the way, have you started thinking about your summer internships yet? I know, it feels like you just got back and finally settled in. You might not even be sure which classes you’re taking next quarter, let alone when you’re going to start applying for an internship.
HP, Hershey, Expedia, and Google all have internships posted for this summer internships already, and there’s more to come. All of my college recruiter friends are on the road through November trying to fill their positions. We all know that college internships carry a lot of weight on a resume and can lead to future job offers. Get started now, so you will be able to relax this spring during the second round of recruiting.
A lot of prominent organizations send recruiters on campus to meet students. It helps to make friends with the people who coordinate these visits. Visit the career center often. Ask them to help you update your resume and write a cover letter. Get to know the people who work there, because they can have a lot of pull. They’re the people who companies tend to work with when scheduling the on-site visits. If you build a relationship with them, they can and sometimes do put in a good word for you with the companies coming to visit.
Companies tend to do two types of campus recruiting. The first approach is info sessions and the second is the On-site Interviews. With the info sessions, recruiters come on campus and give a presentation about life at their office, what their internship program looks like and sometimes even offer free food. At these events, they might take resumes and spend a bit of time networking with students. They might have a job posting(s) for you to apply. Attend these! First of all, what college student doesn’t want free food? Second, you get face to face time with the people who are influencing hiring decisions, why wouldn’t you go!
On-site interviews are usually combined with an info session and or career fair. This type of event is fast and furious for the recruiters. They’re reviewing resumes, filling interview slots and interacting with students all in a brief period. Sometimes they’ll work with the college directly to fill some select particular spots before they show up with students that come highly recommended or through pre-selects. Once they’re on campus, the businesses spots fill up quickly. Stay on top who’s coming to town by checking in with the career center weekly.
Occasionally, a company will do on-site interviews at a target school without being associated with a career fair or info session. These tend to be much less publicized, and the schedules are set before they visit the school. They may leave one or two slots open for recommended students upon their arrival, but mostly the candidates have already applied online.
Don’t fret if your dream company isn’t coming to your school. There’s a ton of colleges out there, and an excellent way to can’t make it to each one. Applying for the internship is a step that everyone has to take, regardless. Again, set up your notifications early for the companies you are interested in. If your school doesn’t have a lot of on-campus visits, you might have to cast a broader net to land an internship. When you are applying, attention to detail is one of the best skills you can demonstrate. Avoid spelling and grammar errors by enlisting a friend to proofread. If the application allows for a cover letter, don’t skip it, and be sure to customize it for the particular internship.
If recruiters aren’t coming to your school, use LinkedIn to find them and let them know you’re interested. I ran this post past an experienced college recruiter for a large company, and she added:
“Reaching out to recruiters directly on LinkedIn is a great way to let a company know you are interested in internships with them. So if a company you are interested in is not coming to your campus, apply online and find a recruiter from that company on LinkedIn and reach out directly, expressing your interest. You only need to do this once, and they will follow-up if they are interested.”
How to Prepare
Head back over to the career center to get started. Find out which companies typically come on campus each year and do some research. Figure out if you want to stay close to home for an internship, or spend the summer in another state. Once you’ve narrowed it down, pick 5-10 companies offering summer internships that you’d love to work for and set up job notifications on their websites. Then, follow them on Social Media – Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/LinkedIn. Some of them have targeted college recruiting accounts, so keep an eye out. They’ll post events for the schools that you’re visiting.
When the jobs come up, customize your resume to match the position. Write a cover letter that demonstrates you know what the company does and highlighting how your skills match their needs. You can use the career center for help with your resume and cover letter. Look for opportunities to get feedback on your interview skills too. Do some research on behavioral interview questions or technical coding questions and practice as much as you can.
If you see their events on Facebook, be sure to RSVP and don’t flake for Taco Tuesday. Dress as if you are going to an interview. Depending on the company, this could look different, but it still should be professional (clean, wrinkle-free and no sweats). For Banking and Finance wear formal business attire. At high-tech & startup companies wear nice slacks and a button up or blouse. This lets the recruiters know that you’re serious, and you aren’t just there for the free food
Was this helpful? Feel free to pass it along. I wish you all the best of luck in finding summer internships. Leave a comment or send me a note if you have questions. firstname.lastname@example.org