August 28, 2012

Intern FAQ: When Should I Apply For An Internship?

So you've decided it's time for you to start interning but you're feeling a bit overwhelmed at everything you have in front of you. Now you have to write a resume, figure out what to do with cover letters, find some clothes to wear to an interview, and actually apply, not to mention those classes and extracurriculars you're busy juggling. When exactly are you supposed to find the time to do all of this?

The idea of finding and securing an internship can be pretty daunting. So we're doing our best to help you out by exploring some internship frequently asked questions. Today, we're discussing when exactly you should start applying for an internship.

When Should I Apply For An Internship?
The first thing to do is figure out when exactly you plan on interning. Are you only available in the summer or can you fit in an internship in the spring or fall too? This will be the key and help you determine your timeline.

You should usually begin applying one season, or about three months before the time you intend to do an internship. So, if you want an internship in the summer, you should start the application process in the beginning of that year. Yes, there are places who will not look at your application until a month or so before the internship starts, but they will usually tell you this. Just be sure to find out when they do begin reviewing applicants and check back in with them then. Being early should only help you look driven and enthusiastic (as long as you are not too pushy while you wait to hear back).

However, starting the applications doesn't necessarily mean just getting started. Spend some time in advance building, writing, and refining you resume. Practice interview questions. Meet with your career or intern advisor if applicable. Draft a cover letter (keep in mind though you will need a different letter specific to each place you apply, but it's not a bad idea to have a starting point). Do some research into the places you want to apply and try to find out about their programs and contact information.

Applying for internships can be a daunting task, but if you plan ahead, apply early, and follow up in a polite and professional manner, it should help you manage your time, demonstrate your enthusiasm, and hopefully land your dream internship.
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