Last-Straw Strategies to Land a Summer Internship

by | May 5, 2021 | Internships

There are still internship opportunities out there. You just need to be bold!

Some students have been looking for a summer internship but have not yet landed one Some students have not started to look for a summer internship. What are some last-straw (last minute) strategies students can use to find and land a professional internship?

1. Sit down with mom, dad, family friends, aunts, uncles and grandparents and ask them who they know in relevant professional roles. By “relevant” I mean connected or related to your major and/or career interests. Ideally, ask for an email introduction for each professional mentioned. And when you do your initial outreach, tell the person you are doing some career exploration and would like to set up an informational interview with them. Once on the phone with each professional, ask them smart/interesting questions and be sure to thank them for their time. At the very end, simply ask if they (or their company) would be willing to bring you on as an intern this summer. Worst case scenario is they say, “no.” But don’t hang up just yet. Thank them again for their time. Tell them you really enjoyed talking to them and then plant the seed that if they would be willing to allow you to even be a fly on the wall for a week or a day so you could learn about their job and the company, you’d be grateful. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. P.S. This strategy might work best with smaller more nimble companies who are able to hire you or allow you to shadow without going through an HR manager or red tape.

2. Reach out to your university career center. Tell them you have been looking for internships online (including Handshake if you school uses this technology) and haven’t landed anything yet. Ask the career counselor if by chance they are aware of any new internships or any remote internship opportunities in your field of interest. While you’re on the phone, ask the career counselor if they have an alumni mentor match program and can you be matched with someone in your field of interest. Ask for any/all ideas as to how you can gain hands-on experience in your field of interest. Also, be sure to ask them for any and all alumni LinkedIn groups you should join. P.S. Your college career center WANTS to help you get hired. Ask them for help.

3. It’s not glamorous, but cold calling is another way to identify available internships or to create an internship opportunity. Simply identify/Google businesses of interest and call. Be VERY kind to the person who answers the phone. Schmooze with them a little bit. S/he may just be the gatekeeper to connecting you to the right person and even helping you land an internship. Tell the person a little bit about yourself (make it as interesting as possible!) and perhaps even lighten the mood by mentioning you hope today is your lucky day. Similar to last-straw strategy #1, don’t ask if the company is hiring interns right away. Because if they are not, the conversation will be shut down immediately. Rather, explain to whomever answers the phone you are a college student doing some career exploration and you’ve had great success setting up informational interviews to learn about various careers and jobs (makes you look smart!). Then ask if s/he would be willing to please connect you or give you the contact information to reach the marketing, finance, IT or real estate (fill in with your career interest) manager. Informational interviews are a great way to learn about different roles/jobs in your industry and build your professional network. Plus, if you get a relevant professional on the phone and build a little rapport, there is no harm in asking this second person if they would be interested in bringing on an intern this summer. Tell him/her you are hungry to learn and very curious to discover more about their day-to-day work. You may get hired simply because you had the guts to make a cold call. P.S. Again, this strategy works best with small/medium nimble companies.