How To Get That Elusive Summer Internship

The end of term is swiftly approaching and with it so does summer break. Weeks of relaxation, perhaps even at a sunny beach somewhere warm and away from the hustle and bustle of the city life.

No worries, no cares, no exams. Absolutely no reason to miss out on your hard-earned relaxation after months of toiling over textbooks and essays. Right? Well, it honestly depends.

While overtaxing and overworking yourself is an actual danger when you are a university student that should not be taken lightly, perhaps there are a few good reasons you should reconsider spending the entirety of your summer vacation in idleness.

Let’s face it; life will carry on after university is through, and, as you hunt for a job, a university degree will not be the only thing your future employers will be looking for.

No matter how great your overall grade will be, holding a degree in your chosen field is fairly essential; when a selection is being made, is it is more likely for an employer to pick somebody with prior work experience for a position, rather than a stellar student.

However, as we all know, working towards gaining a university degree leaves little to no time to hold a full-time job in a relevant field throughout the academic year. How, then, could anyone gain that oh so necessary working experience? The answer, of course, is getting a summer internship.

There are many employers out there that would welcome an employee who would work through the summer for little or no money at all and, while that might sound like a horrible trade-off to your much-expected vacation, the experience you will earn may very well be what will get you on your way to your dream job a few years down the line.

With the summer quickly approaching and facing competition from your fellow intern-seekers, there are a few steps you could follow to keep yourself ahead of the curve.


1) Update CV and your Cover Letter

If you think that simply jotting down your experience and education so far on a word document would be enough to compile a CV, you would be sorely mistaken.

Writing a résumé is an art in itself; there is a delicate balance that must be kept between content and brevity. You certainly do not want to leave anything you have accomplished so far out but you would be hard pressed to find a prospective employer (probably having to deal with dozens of CVs similar to yours) willing to read through a five-page document just to get to the pertinent information.

What you need to do is keep the bare essentials. Imagine your accomplishments so far as chapters to a book and only write down the title of each chapter, treating your CV as a table of contents of sorts. And never forget, while a personal statement is an important part of your CV, it should be kept short, to the point, and tailored for every position you apply rather than a blanket statement.

Finally, you should always pay attention to you cover letter. It is demanded by most potential employers and is your opportunity to shine through the stacks of applications they will have at their disposal. As such, it can be what will make or break your application.

But always remember; a cover letter is not meant to spread over dozens of pages. One page should be more than enough to explain why you consider yourself ideal for the internship you will be applying to.


2) Narrow it down

There are many ways to apply for a summer internship but all of them will be for nought if you do not know what you’re applying for. Remember, the point of an internship is to gain relevant experience in your field. Do not approach an internship as you would your first job.

Try to imagine your ideal job, the one you wish to have in ten years’ time and then imagine the people who would be working for you or around you. Are you studying to become a lawyer? Perhaps you should look for a law firm searching for PAs during the summer. Do you wish to become a writer? Then the perfect internship for you could be assisting at a newspaper, a blog, or even at a publishing house.

An internship will be little like your dream job, but it will aid you in gaining a basic experience of your ideal field of work, so you will not be forced to start from zero once you graduate.


3) Apply, then apply again.

There is no limit to how many applications you can send when looking for an internship. Feel free to apply to all relevant positions you may find. The internet is your friend in you search; if you have already graduated, you may consider seeking the aid of a professional service, making sure you get all the guidance you need. If you are still a student there are many websites you may turn to in your research for the ideal internship.

The only sure way to fail in getting an internship is not applying at all; and while it is, admittedly, a time-consuming process, the outcome is very much worth the effort you will put in.


4) Do not get disheartened.

As with all job applications, it is highly unlikely that you will get accepted on your first try. It’s a competitive world out there; there is a very high probability that your first application will be rejected.

That rejection should under no circumstances cause you to stop trying. It’s simple math; the more you apply, the higher your probability to get hired. What you need to do is persevere and you are bound to succeed.


Eleni Vlassi is an international relations graduate. She has acquired an MA Degree in Diplomacy and Foreign Policy from City University and an LLM degree in International Business Law from Neapolis University of Paphos. She is now pursuing a career in international relations and journalism. Check out her LinkedIn here.

Inspiring Interns is a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs, visit their website.