Since there aren’t many other options, you should use your winter break to find summer internships. Your winter break used to consist of sleeping in, mom’s cooking, seeing friends, your old room, and no homework. Well, depending on where you are, you may have never left home for the fall semester this year. Seeing friends might be only via Facetime. The unknown future due to COVID-19 provides all the more reason to spend your winter break finding summer internships.
The least fun part of being home is dealing with annoying questions from family.
“What are you studying again?”
“What are you going to do with a degree in that?”
“Found a job yet?”
“Are you going to graduate school?
You may or may not have any answers. I don’t care if you have answers for them, I want you to have answers for YOU. If you are a senior, things are getting really real as you buckle down on your job, grad school or post grad internship search. Even if you aren’t graduating in six months, using this winter time wisely can have a big impact on your upcoming summer internships.
Taking the time to do these things below can help you gain confidence on what can happen over the next few months. When little is predictable, you can have confidence that you are taking step to have a productive summer 2021.
Resting and Refocus
Sleep, eat, be a little lazy, exercise, talk a few walks, read a fun book, wrestle with your younger siblings and hug your family. Sometimes just being home can be enough to get you back to balance and your focus right. Resting is required for your physical and mental well-being.
However, don’t spend your entire break in bed or binge watching Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ etc. Get your baby Yoda fix on for sure, but make sure you put in some work too.
In these changing times, you might also start to think more critically about your coures and career choices. What industries have been hit hard and which industires are thriving? After a cold long winter, will summer 2021 internships be availble in your area of interest? While your rest, and declutter your mind, you can think about things more clearly.
Work on Your Resume
If you don’t have a resume, it’s time to make one. Update your resume every semester with new internships, clubs or skills you’ve gained. A resume is a one-page summary of your experience, education, skills, leadership and volunteer activities. Learn the elements of what makes a good resume and how to write a cover letter. These two tools are vital to your internship or job search.
For help, start with the career services office on campus. Even if you are not on campus, check the career services website for basic information, virtual meetings, resume templates and tips on where to begin (or you can download my free resume template). Most career services offices also offer resume reviews or critiques too. You can also check to see if they offer mock interviews. The more you prepare for an interview, the less nervous you will be.
I am a big fan of informational interviews. An informational interview is an interview you conduct with a professional in the career field you want to pursue. It is the perfect opportunity to learn about what it takes to succeed in an industry, challenges you could face, what the day-to-day life is like in that career and network.
Attempting to contact the CEO of a Fortune 500 company will probably not get you any results. This is where you start with your local network (parent’s jobs, neighbors, church members, fraternity or sorority members etc.) and then move onto using school resources to tap into the alumni network.
Through networking, you should be able to identify at least one opportunity to sit down or have a brief phone call with someone that can give you insight. Since you likely have no classes, you’ll have the time to find the right person and connect.
Create Your LinkedIn Profile
Use this time off to create your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is an online community for professionals of all levels to connect, network, share and learn. Many companies, large and small post jobs and internships through LinkedIn. They also use it to locate and connect with potential candidates.
Your LinkedIn profile should mirror your resume, however, it provides the opportunity to include additional information. You can write a professional summary, highlight skills, add recommendations, share a portfolio and publish content. The other great thing is that you can find and directly apply for jobs and internships through LinkedIn.
As a current student, you should not feel pressured to have a profile that fills in all the boxes to oversell who you are. Focus your energy on a solid summary and matching the sections of your resume to the online profile.
Get your resume ready, create your LinkedIn profile and start applying ASAP. Don’t miss an opportunity because you missed a deadline. Download my free Internship Manual Tracker with a free resume template to keep yourself on track.
The most useful way to spend this time off is to actually start applying for internships. Many companies are already accepting applications for summer 2021 – for virtual or in person internships. Companies like ViacomCBS, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Johnson & Johnson and so many others are already accepting applications for PAID summer internships (including post grad internships) across departments.
Depnding on your career goals, you can also start applying to graduate school programs. Use the break to study for any required standardized tests. If you want an MBA, you are likely going to take the GMAT, liberal arts programs mostly require the GRE, medical school candidates will need to take the MCAT and law school hopefuls will take the LSAT. Your break is the perfect time to take a study course or the test.
Learn the admissions requirements for the programs you want. Looking to become a physical therapist, know what the physical therapy degree admission requirements are well before hand. Think you want an MBA, learn the types of undergrad classes business schools look for. Goal to be a nurse, learn if an RN to BSN is the best option for you. Learning it now will allow you to carefully plan your approach.
Once you get back to school, your summer internship or graduate school search time might be more limited, so take advantage of your open winter schedule. Be smart, get a head of the game and this summer you will be glad that you did. We don’t know what things will look like for sure summer 2021, but give yourself the option. While others might sit back and wait for everything to fall into place, you can choose to take action – even in the midst of a pandemic.
I know that the calendar just switched to fall, but it’s also internship search season! I know, the idea of searching for a summer internship when we haven’t even seen the first snowflake seems premature. However, I assure you that the time is now to get moving on your summer internship search.
Generally speaking, only the most competitive internships have deadlines in September – December. If you are chasing after a gig at certain Fortune 500 companies, working on Wall Street, consulting for McKinsey or have spy dreams of working for the Central Intelligence Agency, you need to get moving now for those super competitive opportunities.
Actually, you might be too late for the CIA since you have to apply 12 months in advance (they do have other positions with later deadlines though). The FBI’s internship program is already closed until next summer too and the National Basketball Association internship program closes on October 3rd.
The world won’t end if you wait until January to start your internship search. Starting now does open up a whole world of additional opportunities.
Fall is for Recruitment
As a recruiter, the fall is when I used to rack up a ton of travel miles heading from college to college across the country. I attended college fairs, presented to student groups and occasionally met with department chairs.
When I was a student, I landed a few internships and a full-time job offer as a result of attending my college’s career fair. They can be valuable for the purposes of 1) getting to meet an actual person that works for the company 2) making a good impression that can lead to an interview and 3) learning about new companies and opportuinites that you haven’t thought about before.
On the other side, I was looking to meet students that would be a good fit for my program. I loved introducing the program to students who didn’t know about it. I was impressed by the young people who’d already done their research and came prepared with questions.
If your university will be hosting a Career or Graduate School fair, make it your business to be there. And, be dressed to impress. I have five steps for success at a career fair that serve as good starting point for you. I can tell you after nearly 20 years of recruitment, a smile and firm handshake can go a long way.
Diversity Internship Programs
Plenty of other types of internship opportunities will come along later this year and early spring. Many of the highest paying internship programs are already accepting applicants.
Wonderful opportunities come to those who choose to participate in diversity internship programs. Programs like the T. Howard Foundation, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity and INROADS are constantly working to introduce and advance minority representation in the worlds of business, media, sports, engineering, investment banking, finance, law and other spaces.
The applications for these PAID internship programs generally due early. The first deadline for the T. howard Foundation is October 1st and the final deadline December 1st. T. Howard Foundation places students in internships with companies like HBO, ESPN, CBS Corporation, Facebook, Viacom, Univision and so many others. Check out my list for detailed informtaion on over
In addition to helping you land an internship with a major company, these organizations provide a support network that can open doors for you for years to come, scholarships and job connections.
Many companies may not participate with diversity organizations, but they often have their own internships targeted at increasing diversity. Check out my ongoing list of companies looking to recruit diverse interns.
What You Need to Do Next
The first thing you need to do is get your resume in order. Start with your career services office on campus. Your resume is only one piece of the puzzle but very important. Getting your resume in order forces you to think about the experiences you’ve had, skills you possess as well as skills that you lack, but it should also make you think about the types of experiences you want to gain.
With your complete resume, it will be easy to move foward and create a LinkedIn profile. After you get your resume together, you need to get organized. My free Internship Manual Toolkit can keep you on task and focused on your next move. As a bonus, the Toolkit includes a free resume template.
Take the internship search process seriously and learn to be an expert. If you can become effective at a great internship search, you will be a pro at executing an effective job search.
Another semester has come and gone and you’ve survived. Whether you are a senior coming up on your last hoorah or a freshman still getting the hang of things, your winter break is a much needed, much welcomed, few moments of rest. Don’t sleep too much and miss out on your chance to get a jump on your summer 2018 plans.
The best summer internships are found in the fall/winter. Many Fortune 500 companies recruit on campus and online from September – December. If you are looking for a paid internship, you need to get on the ball as soon as possible.
Even though some companies have already filled their 2018 summer slots, there are many other worthwhile, awesome and valuable internships opportunities still up for grabs, I just want you to understand that you need to get moving on this process. Start with my free Internship Manual Toolkit that will help you stay on track during the search process. Even if you aren’t looking to intern for a big name company across the country, starting your internship search now and getting ahead can help you stay on top of it when things get busy again.
Why an Internship is Necessary
[x_pullquote cite=”S. Kent” type=”left”]Launching your career after college isn’t just about your major, GPA and extracurriculars…[/x_pullquote]
Companies now expect to see real internship experience on your resume before you graduate. Many employer’s are expecting to see multiple internships. Getting a job after college isn’t just about your major, GPA and extracurriculars, it is also about showing a company that you bring value, can learn fast and have been tested in the workforce. Internships give you that.
The internship experience isn’t just about the company, it is also about you. I did eight internships while in college. Each experience was different and valuable in it’s own way. Internships allow you to test out the waters into different careers you may not have thought of, learn new things and see how your classroom experiences translate to the real world. In addition, on average, interns make about $15,000 more per year when starting out after college.
Your internship search doesn’t have to become stressful or overwhelming. Check out these 5 quick ways to find an internship that have all been proven to work.
- Ask Around
- Get help from career services
- Search in unconventional places
- Online research
- Apply to internship programs
Read the article for full details and actions to take for each of these 5 ways to find an internship.
Don’t waste your winter break. Get some rest, see family, see your friends but stay ahead of everyone else and get moving on finding an internship. Pick up a copy of, The Internship Manual a Step-by-Step Guide to Finding the Internship of Your Dreams and learn everything you need to know to succeed in this process.