As an English major, you've probably heard the question "So what are you going to do with that degree?" from everyone you know. Well, college is the perfect time to figure out the answer to that question, as well as hone your skills and make connections. One of the most efficient ways of gaining experience and getting your foot in the door while you are still in college is an internship. Here are some tips for finding your perfect internship!
1. Identify your goals.
What do you want to get out of an internship? Do you want to become an expert at copy-editing? Do you dream of having 300 LinkedIn connections? Do you want to make sure that you really do want to be a writer for a newspaper? Try to figure out your must-haves for your internship experience. When I was applying for internships, I made a list of the experiences and skills that I wished to gain from an internship, and I searched for internships that would offer me those opportunities. This list proved invaluable when I ended up being accepted to two internships and could only pick one!
2. Do some research.
You're probably really good at researching by now, and here is a chance to apply those skills to the internship hunt! Identify companies in your area (or elsewhere, if you are able to move for an internship) that offer internships. I highly recommend internships.com, indeed.com, LinkedIn, and even Facebook (who knows—your aunt's employer may need an intern this summer!). Your college career center and professors may also have some good ideas. If you can, talk to past or current interns as part of your research to help determine if this internship would help you complete your goals. Use glassdoor.com to read what full employees think about the companies that you research as well. This can also help you figure out if the internship is with a legitimate company that will help you achieve your identified goals.
3. Do some spring-cleaning and ask for feedback.
Polish your resume, LinkedIn profile and social media profiles. It helps to think about applying for internships as practice for applying for your first job after college. This is a great opportunity to get feedback (from your college career center and employers alike) and figure out what employers will look for in your resume and profiles. Working on your resume and profiles can also help you figure out what you desire in an internship—if you are really interested in a career in marketing, but you don't have much experience in the field yet, an internship with a marketing agency or in the marketing department of a company would be very beneficial.
4. Follow the companies' processes for applying to internships.
Again, this is good practice for applying to your first job after college. Make sure that you submit all requested materials (usually a resume and cover letter, but some employers may also request writing samples). If the company gets in touch with you regarding your application, reply professionally and politely.
5. Selecting the internship.
If you get multiple acceptances, think back on your goals and try to identify which internship would benefit you most. It may help as well to ask targeted questions of your potential employer, such as "Would I have the opportunity to work with the editing team during this internship?" to make sure that you would gain the skills and experiences that you desire. If you get one acceptance, still make sure that the internship is right for you. If it isn't, don't worry, and keep applying! Employers update their internship openings regularly (peak times tend to be from December to May for summer internships, in my experience), so don't lose hope. With some research, patience, and determination, you will find your perfect internship!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Teddi Strassburger will be graduating from Georgia College in Milledgeville, GA in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a minor in French. She is the editor-in-chief of The Corinthian, Georgia College’s student research journal, and she is currently interning as a copy-editor. When she isn’t playing with words, Teddi can be found giving tours on campus, watching movies about space and/or superheroes, and trying to plan another trip to Paris. You can find her at her LinkedIn.