Applying for an internship: my tried-and-true methods

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Applying for an internship: my tried-and-true methods


Internship experience is a vital part of shaping your future career. When it comes to applying for internships, there is no single “right” way to go about it. In fact, there are so many different ways to go through the application process that sometimes it may be difficult to pinpoint where to start.

For the past three summers, I have had three different internships, and I applied to several more each year. And now, as a senior, I have experienced at least a handful of different types of internship application processes.

So, for those just starting out (and even the seasoned veterans), I’ve created a handy list of some of the most common ways to apply to internships. I have actually used all four of these methods throughout the years, and from my experience I have found that they are all worth trying.

Through networking

This may be the most widely known way of acquiring an internship. If you know someone working at the company or someone who has connections, you already have your foot in the door. There is no guarantee that you will get it, of course, but it does give you a higher chance of snatching that coveted spot. If your connection is well known and appreciated, the company will think of you before looking at the list of applicants they don’t know.

Using a job search site

There are a number of websites that are designed to search your specific criteria of jobs or internships. Sites such as Indeed.com and Monster.com not only help you look for full-time or part-time jobs, but they include internships as well. These can be helpful if you know where you would like your internship to be and in what field. The website narrows down your search, and you can click through the results to narrow them further. I use these sites quite often to get a taste of what opportunities are available in a specific location.

Online application through the company website

If you know exactly where you would like to apply, the most straightforward thing to do is go to the company’s website. The good thing about this route is that you know exactly what you are applying for, and you know that it is a reputable place to look. Plus, the website will have the most details about any open positions, and there will likely be contact information listed if you have questions.

Cold calling or emailing

I believe that this method is extremely underappreciated. I have used it several times — in fact, the past two summers I ended up with internships that hadn’t even been advertised at the time. If you do not see an internship listed with a certain company or organization and you would like to intern for them, send them an email or give them a call to let them know. This shows that you care, demonstrates that you have initiative and puts your name out there. Sometimes a shot in the dark is all it takes, and you don’t have anything to lose.

Reema is a senior in FAA. She can be reached at [email protected]