How to Land The Coveted Dream Summer Internship

Screen shot 2014-04-15 at 11.49.39 AMThe time is upon us, my friends. Summer internship applications are being accepted and students around the world are sending in their applications to land the New York City internship of their dreams.

So how does one break through the clutter of hundreds of applications in competitive industries like fashion, museums, music, and advertising?

At FindSpark, we’re here to show you how. Here are some of our biggest tips:


Networking isn’t a bad thing, although many of people have a bad view of it. It’s incredibly important to start building a network of people within industries you’re interested in pursuing. You can start small, reaching out to professors, peers, and family. Be specific about what type of role you want at one type of company. Otherwise, it’s hard for people to help you. If you’re open to a variety of opportunities, it’s ok to tell different people different goals based on what they’d be likely to help you with. If people offer to make introductions for you, tell them exactly what you’d like them to say. It isn’t pushy, it’s helpful.

Send Custom Applications

Generic cover letters and resumes are the worst. The biggest turnoff for every recruiter is receiving an application and having no idea if the applicant even knows what company or job they are apply for.  If you want results, you have to take the time to use the job description to guide the language and information you include in your cover letter and resume. Make it incredibly obvious that you read over the role, know the company’s mission, and can bring value to the team based on your skills and experience. Ready to start writing? Get more insider tips from real recruiters.

Use Social Media to do Research

LinkedIn is a great place to begin research on a company you want to work for. You can find the company page and see who works there, including past and present interns. Is there a trend of interns turning into full-time employees? Do you notice certain skills and keywords most profiles seem to have? Are you connected to the hiring manager or any current employees? Use this research to make a connection, guide your application, and give you talking points for your interview.

Create an Online Presence

There are lots of great places to create a website without needing to know how to code or design. Our favorite is Create something simple that has your basic information:

  • Where you went to school
  • What you studied
  • What you’re pursuing
  • Relevant social media profiles
  • Resume
  • Contact information

Start Early, Work Hard, and Don’t Get Discouraged

Start looking for summer internships in March so you have plenty of time to create custom applications, network, do research, and set up online present (or refresh yours if you already have one). Fact: you will get turned down by lots of jobs. Everyone does. You will send in lots of applications and not get any responses; that should be expected. Never forget that everyone has their own preferences: just because you didn’t get a response or call after an interview doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. In all likelihood, it’s best that you didn’t get chosen if the hiring manager didn’t think you were the right fit.

Use the steps above to land a great summer internship and learn important skills in the process. Found your dream gig? Read on to learn how to rock it.

What are your best tips for getting a summer internship? Please share in the comment section below.

About the Author

Emily is Founder and CEO of FindSpark. Passionate about the power of social media and networking; Emily has spoken at numerous colleges, conferences, and events including The International Youth Leaders Assembly at The United Nations, SXSW Interactive, Internet Week, Mediabistro's Social Media Bootcamp, Time Inc, Columbia University, and New York University, among others. Emily is also an adjunct professor, teaching social media and career courses at multiple colleges. Learn more about having Emily speak at your next event and follow her on twitter @EmilyMiethner.

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