How to Start Looking For Your Next Internship

Summer is here, and whether you’ve managed to land an internship, are jetting off on holiday, or are looking forward to some time lounging around and catching up on Game of Thrones, you may be surprised to know that NOW is the time to start looking for your next internship. That’s right. Not next year. Not winter break. Now.
To avoid that dreaded scramble for a decent position (or worse, suddenly realizing mid-spring that everyone you know has something lined up while you have sent out absolutely ZERO applications) it’s essential that you beat the Internship rush by preparing early. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you have to give up all your free time and trade in trips to the beach for hours of scouring job sites, it just means dedicating a little bit of effort now for a big payoff in the future.
Ready to get started? Here’s how you can start putting out the feelers for your next internship:
1. Load up your contacts book. Now is the time to be networking and finding people who might be able to help you in a few months time. If you’re currently interning, start talking to your bosses to see if there’s any other opportunities in your office, or ask if they could put you in contact with someone. Casually mention to everyone you meet that you’re interested in X industry, are studying at X college, and are trying to find an internship for next year (or during next semester, if you can manage it). Keep your contacts organized by making note of their email address, name, where they work, and details of the conversation you’ve had. I recommend making a spreadsheet with all of this information, so you don’t forget anyone’s name and can bring up specific details of your interactions when you reach out.
2. Get everyone involved in the search. Ask your family and friends to start thinking of anyone they know who might be able to get you an internship. My Dad knew I wanted to get into journalism pretty much since my childhood, but only mentioned that he knew a successful freelance writer who could give me incredibly helpful advice ONE YEAR AGO. Your parents, too, could secretly have a really useful contact that has just slipped their mind. Give them a polite nudge.
3. Start researching companies. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend sending out applications for next year at this point, as it’s a little early. Instead, use this time to make a list of all of the places you’d be interested in interning at, finding out what kind of positions they offer, how to apply, and any deadlines. If you can’t find this information, feel free to shoot over a quick email to their HR team – not with a formal application, but just to find out how to apply when the time comes.
4. If it is a really oversubscribed industry though, now might be the time to apply. When it comes to journalism, placements can be filled over a year in advance. I finally managed to land some work experience that I’m really excited about, but the only placement they had was available in 8 months time (which is fine, it just means I’ll have to wait it out). For these kind of jobs, it’s unlikely that they’ll actually be advertising positions this early, so just send over an email registering your interest, explaining your availability, and asking that they keep you in mind.
5. If you’re working over the Summer, make sure to get your references before you head back to College. 
6. Work on your resumé and cover letter. Now is a great time to make sure your application materials are primed and ready for the next round of applications. Check over your resumé and cover letter, and see if you can send them over to some of your contacts to get some feedback.
7. Get VERY organized. The worst thing ever is realizing that the deadline for your dream internship passed without you even noticing. A lot of big companies fill their Summer programs before Christmas, so it’s absolutely crucial that you get a planner and write down exactly what you need to accomplish throughout the next months. If you use this time wisely, you won’t even have to worry about searching for jobs. You’ll already have all the information you need and will just have to apply.
8. Begin ‘reaching out’. Look, no-one really likes networking. But sending out friendly emails now will save you so much trouble when it comes to finding your next internship. Put yourself at the forefront of each of your contacts’ minds by sending out an email to catch them up on what you’re doing and explaining that you would like to find an internship next year. By getting in contact now, you’re going to get there well before all the other applicants. Keep it polite, but be straight-up in your intentions. No wishy-washiness, no “I’m just checking in”, openly say that you are hoping to get an internship and would appreciate it if they kept you in mind.
9. Work on your skills. Being internship-free this summer doesn’t mean you have a free license to do nothing. Plan a little time to work on a skill that will help you land a position. If you’re hoping to go into journalism, try writing a blog. If you’re a creative type, use your free time to add to your portfolio. Use your Summer wisely so that when it comes to next year’s interviews, you have an answer for “so, what did you do last summer?” that will make you seem dedicated and goal-orientated.
10. Don’t forget to focus on what you’re doing at the moment, though. No matter how much time you dedicate to finding a position next summer, it’s going to be pretty useless if this summer’s work yielded no results other than a mediocre reference. If you’re an intern for the next few months, make sure you are working as hard as you can and showing your boss how amazing you are. Not only will you enjoy your time significantly more, but being memorable could mean your boss will send an email to their friend recommending you for your dream position next year. Make the most of what you’re doing in the present. It will pay off in the future.
[Lead image via GIRLS on HBO]

Looking Back at the Best of 2000 [CC Faves]
Looking Back at the Best of 2000 [CC Faves]
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