How to Land a Summer Internship

As a college student, it is important to gain real-world experiences outside of school. Summer is the best time to gain such experience through volunteering or internships. For most students, internships can seem intimidating (at least it was for me). I’m here to talk about how to land a summer internship from the beginning to the end.

1. Think about what you want. Based on your major and academic area of interest, think about what kind of experience you want to gain out of the internship. For me, I wanted an internship that provides insight into the field of work that I was interested in. Are you looking for a more research-oriented internship, or a work-environment internship? Think about what it is that you would like to gain from an internship first before doing anything else.

2. Research, research, research! Now that you have a general idea of the type of internship that you want, use resources around you to find the right internship. UR has a College and Career Center that can help you with the process. You can also ask professors for good internship opportunities, or counselors specific to an academic field. Personally, I asked for opinions from my professors, peers, and researched on the Internet. It is also important to take into account your plans for the summer: where you are going to be, whether or not you are getting another job, etc.

3. Create a specific resume. Once you have narrowed down the research to one or two places, it is time to create a specific resume that fits the qualifications and the characteristics of the internship. The College and Career Center has clear directions as to how to create different types of resumes and cover letters. You can also meet with the counselors at the College and Career Center to go over your resumes and edit them. Your resume is the first impression you’re leaving, so it’s very important to have a good one. A tip to creating a successful resume is checking the qualifications of the internship multiple times and including them in your resume. And don’t forget–no spelling errors!

4. Communication is the key! Once you have sent off all of your resumes and cover letters, it is time to wait for a response. Check your e-mail frequently and make sure you don’t miss anything! Communication is key, and quick responses to e-mails leave an important impression that you are organized and prompt.

After a few weeks of sending off your resume, you should be hearing back about the internship. Don’t be discouraged if you are rejected–summer internships are often very competitive. If you were accepted, then congratulations! Go out and celebrate your first step towards the real world!

About the author

YooJung Chun

I'm a member of the Class of 2018, and I am majoring in art history. I was born in Seoul, South Korea, before moving to Chicago. I'm the Publicity Chair for the Korean American Students' Association, and I also take piano lessons at the Eastman School of Music.

4 Comments

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  • Ma’am,

    I would like to know, if freshman can apply for internships?

    And if any paid internships are available?

    Best-
    Harshul

    • Yes, I was in my second semester of freshman year when I applied for this internship. As for this particular internship at the Frank Lloyd Wright museum, there are no paid internships. However, there are many other museum internships that do offer paid internships, so I would suggest you do your research specifically for paid internships!

    • Yes! I was in my second semester of freshman year when I applied for the museum internship. It depends on what type of internships you are looking for, but as for museum internships, a lot of them accept freshman undergraduate applications. However, I have also found that there are a lot of museums that only accept junior and senior, or grad student applications for internships. I would suggest, always do your research before applying because each internship has its own requirements and rules.

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