How to Navigate the Internship Process

Internships are the foundation that build you as a professional. Not only are internships great resume builders, they help you realize what you might like to do in the future, or may not like to do in the future. Internships will also teach you a great deal about yourself. The internship process can sound intimidating and scary to many, but I promise you it’s not as bad as it sounds. Many times people don’t know where to begin or what do to do, but by following these tips, you should be on the road to success in no time.


  1. Make a list


One of the best things I did when looking for an internship was deciding what I was interested in and what I wasn’t interested in. There are thousands of companies and internships out there, so it is important to make decisions and not just apply everywhere. This can range from a geographical location, to an industry, or even a certain type of position. If you don’t have any limitations, you will open yourself too wide and have no direction.


  1.  If you’re interested in a position, apply

I kind of alluded to this earlier, but if you’re interested in a position you don’t initially seem qualified for, apply anyways. If you don’t apply, how will the company ever know you were interested? You never know what can happen. A company might look at your resume, cover letter, etc. and find interest in you, even though you don’t necessarily “fit the description.”


  1. Edit your resume and cover letter based on the position

There is no written rule that says you need to use the same resume for every position you apply to and by no means should you. Look at the description of the position you are applying for and make your resume fit that description. Show the company why you would be a great fit. If the company requires a cover letter, do the same for that. Make sure you match the heading to the same one used on your resume and use the same font and formatting throughout.


  1. Attend On-Campus Events

Whether attending a Career Fair, an informational session, or a “Snack and Learn,” any time you interact with a company, you’re making an impression on them and showing your interest. These on-campus events help you learn about the company and really help you see if you are interested in their offered internships and are a fit in their company culture. I encourage anyone to attend an event of a company they might be interested in because these events will really help you decide whether you want to move forward and apply. It is also important to go up and talk to that recruiter that is hosting the event and make sure to follow up after, with an email or even a LinkedIn message to remind them you’re interested. This will set you apart from other candidates.


  1. Use Nittany Lion Careers

Nittany Lion Careers is an amazing resource offered by Penn State, listing internships of all kinds, whether you are in the business school or not. Internships are listed throughout the year, in the case you are looking for something other than a summer internship. Nittany Lion Careers not only posts listings from companies that are interviewing at Penn State, but other companies that are interested in Penn State talent. Applying through Nittany Lion Careers shows recruiters that you are a Penn State student, which will set you apart from other. Nittany Lion Careers also posts important information regarding the position itself, from description to locations and more.


  1. Use your connections

Using your connections can help you secure an internship, no matter how you might know that person. Your dad’s best friend or the old president of your favorite on-campus organization could be working at a company you’re interested in. There is no harm in reaching out to anyone you might know. If they can’t help you in the recruitment process, it’s very likely they will know someone who will. Even if you met a recruiter the year previous and decided you are not interested or didn’t get the role, but are interested again, reach out. It will make you stand out against others and show your persistence for that role.


The internship recruitment process might seem dreadful, but by following these tips, you should be on the road to securing that internship in no time!

By Lauren Clements
Lauren Clements