College to Career: How to Apply for Internships

One step toward a successful career is landing yourself an internship. It allows soon-to-be graduates — or recent grads — to gain valuable work experience before diving head first into the workforce. To land your dream internship, it helps to understand the ins and outs of applying. And you should treat the application process as you would applying for a full-time job.

The most popular time for internships may be the summer, but some internships are available year-round in many fields. Consider these useful tips for how to apply for an internship and get a taste of the “real world.”

Perfect Your Resume

The first order of business is to craft a great resume. Not only must it be up to date, but it needs to include your education, relevant skills and accomplishments, and experience. Your resume is the first impression you make to recruiters and hiring managers, so make sure it’s as close to perfect as possible. Having a strong resume not only helps employers know what you can bring to the internship, but it also helps you determine what skills you still need to learn (or want to learn).

Don’t limit your resume to run-of-the-mill information only; employers like to see that you are well rounded and have a variety of experience. Be sure to include hobbies, extracurriculars, and volunteer work. If you’re worried your resume may look a bit boring and not stand out, hire a graphic designer to spruce it up and assist with the layout. You have a lot to offer — don’t sell yourself short.

Consider Your Options

It may sound silly, but it’s important to identify the type of internship you want before sending your resume and application. Choosing an internship within your field — or in an area you’d like to explore — can make an impact on your career down the road. It’s important to stay flexible with your options. Don’t rule out a possibility because it isn’t exactly what you envisioned for your dream internship. For example, if you are interested in journalism, then consider internships in social media, public relations, or communications. These provide fantastic exposure to the journalism field while helping you develop transferable skills for other industries at the same time.

Say there is a company you admire that you want to intern with, but the company isn’t hiring interns. That doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to someone who works there — ask human resources for the correct contact — and discuss the possibility of a short-term working relationship.

Stay on Top of Deadlines

Besides perfecting your resume, timing can be just as important when applying for internships. If you decide to apply for an internship in structured fields like finance or science, you need to know relevant timelines and follow them closely. Most often, summer internship opportunities accept applications during the fall, and candidates get notified before winter break of placement. However, if you are applying for an internship in a less structured field, such as marketing or business operations, you may have more flexibility, as these internships tend to be available on a rolling basis. Regardless of which internship you apply for — and don’t limit yourself to just one — it’s imperative that you apply early as possible to give yourself the best chance for success. Remember: to be early is to be on time, and to be late is to miss your future internship.

Preparing for the Interview

Once you’ve applied for internships, prepare for a potential interview by researching possible questions and writing down and rehearsing high-quality answers. Learn everything you can about the companies, and come up with a few questions of your own to ask in the interview. Showing that you’ve gone the extra mile to learn about the company demonstrates that you’re serious about working at that company specifically. Interviewers want to know that you value the internship opportunity.

Practice or role-play with a friend to ensure you’re coming across confident and professional. Not only will it help refine your answers, but it will help you stay calm during the interview, as you’ll have an arsenal of thoughtful responses at the ready.

Once you know how to get a summer internship, you’re well positioned for a fabulous learning experience. If your new internship requires a move, then turn to CORT Furniture Rental for all your apartment or home furnishing needs.

See How CORT Can Help