Finding a Summer Internship Takes Time: Start NOW

by | Sep 15, 2020 | Internships

As I write this, there are only 240 days or 34 weeks until June 1st 2021, the date many summer internships start. That may seem like a lot of time. But did you know it usually takes 3-6 months to conduct a successful search for an internship (or job)? And this amount of time is cited for normal times, not during a pandemic.

Many students may think it’s too early to start doing the legwork to land a summer internship. But that’s not true.  In fact, waiting until spring semester to take action may be too late to find and land an internship.  Again, finding and landing an internship takes time.  Therefore, I’m going to break down he process of finding and landing an internship in terms of TIME, because time is all we have, right?

Identifying relevant professional contacts TAKES TIME

In order to land an internship for summer 2021, you need to connect with relevant professionals who will be aware of future internship opportunities Using a combination of LinkedIn, alumni directories and friends and family referring people to you are great resources but it does take time to reach out to these connections and get people to make introductions. If you don’t start connecting with relevant professionals NOW then you won’t know about internship opportunities LATER.

Thinking of HOW to reach out to people TAKES TIME

Once you develop a list of relevant professionals, it will take you some time to collect their contact information and craft the right message to send to them.  Each message should be somewhat personalized depending upon how you are connected to the professional.

Hearing back from people and setting up a time to talk TAKES TIME

 Despite how the pandemic makes it feel like time is slowly passing, in reality, people are busy and it takes a few emails or texts to connect, hear back and set up a mutually agreeable time to talk. Once you schedule an informational interview with a relevant professional, life happens. Meetings get rescheduled and the process of connecting for the first time can take weeks, sometimes months.

Building rapport with relevant professionals TAKES TIME

The good news is most people are interested in connecting with college students and recent grads. Afterall, they remember what it was like to be young and they probably wish they had the type of guidance you are now seeking.  Also, more good news, most people like to help people they like, know and trust.  But it takes time to build relationships.  And it takes multiple phone calls, email exchanges and texts to build rapport and position yourself in someone’s mind as a potential good hire.  Your goal is to be top-of-mind when an internship opportunity becomes available and the only way to accomplish this is to take considerable time investing in the relationship. 

Building multiple relationships TAKES TIME

While I wish I could tell you a magic number of contacts to develop in order to find an internship, I can’t. But I can tell you this. Part of this is a numbers game.  If you only reach out to and build a relationship with 10 professionals, then your odds of hearing about an internship are slim.  If you set a goal of sincerely connecting with 50 or 100 professionals over 6-12 months, then your odds of hearing about internships grow exponentially. 

Thinking of reasons to follow up TAKES TIME

There are lots of reasons to reach out to people; sending a contact a news article you think would interest them, sharing a link to a networking event they would benefit from attending or asking for their input on a school project. (People love to help and give their opinions!)  In order to come up with legitimate reasons to re-connect with professionals, you need time to think about and research.  Remember, each time you reach out to a professional,  you are essentially planting another seed in the relationship that allows the person to get to know you, like you and trust you.   (FYI, I give my clients a 4-page document listing reasons to reach out and re-connect with people to enhance their relationships.)

Company hiring decisions TAKES TIME

 Companies may not know they want or need an intern right now, but if you make the right impression and build rapport effectively, by the time Spring 2021 comes along they may offer you an internship…. because of you!

 So now that you realize it TAKES TIME to find and land an internship, when will you start and what actions will you take?