Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

8 Steps I Took To Land My Summer Internship

It’s been a couple of days into the start of my strategy/research  internship at the branding agency Mechanica and it’s been great! The agency is located on the Northshore of Massachusetts in Newburyport, MA. It’s a great coastal summer spot close to the beach and just a short train ride away from Boston. I never would have believed that I would be where I am now when I began my internship search in February. If you’re interested in marketing, advertising, or searching for an internship in the fall, I have some good advice!

1.  Don’t Wait to Start

Don’t put off the start of your internship search! It takes time to find employers that are an ideal match for you; take industry, position, company size, location, company culture, compensation, and local housing into account. It also takes time to apply! Some applications are basic, but others require some pretty unique tasks to complete. Plus, you’ll want to go the extra mile to stand out anyways. Some companies might take time to get back to you or will schedule an interview pretty far out in the future. Make sure you have all the time you can get.

2. Brand Yourself Well

Is your resume in the best shape possible? Keep your resume up-to-date and get it looked at in UGCCD to make sure it’s at its best. You can even highlight the experiences that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for.  Is your LinkedIn account up to date? Are your other social networking profiles private or appropriate/relevant for employers to view? Do yourself a favor and make sure your online profile is clean before you start applying for internships.

3. Write A Knock-Out Cover Letter

I can’t stress this enough. Your resume lists your skills, but a cover letter shows them. You have one page to tell an employer why you are the right person for the job. If parts of your cover letter could be cut and pasted into somebody else’s you’re missing the whole point. Show your personality and make it stand out. Don’t worry about taking a risk–that’s what will get you an interview. My interviewer told me that she loved my cover letter; I’m confident that it made all the difference. Make appointments with the UGCCD and Babson’s Writing Center to draft the best cover letter that you’re capable of. Be ready to make a bunch of appointments though–your cover letter should be catered specifically towards each posting you apply for. Of course you want them to know why you’re awesome, but it’sjust as important to show exactly what you can do for them.

4. Apply, Apply, Apply

Set goals and apply for as many positions as you can, but still remember that quality beats quantity. Actively search on Career Connections and sites like Internships.com, Indeed.com, and SimplyHired.com. Find out about openings through networking and personal connections if possible. Whenever available, directly email your resume and cover letter to the name given or associated with the posting (instead of through a site like internships.com). If a site only asks for a resume, you should still always send a cover letter. Competition is tough and openings are limited, so don’t put all your eggs in one basket and apply, apply, apply!

5. Create Opportunities

Not all listings or opportunities are listed on job sites, Career Connections, or even company websites. Reach out and inquire! Explain what you are looking for and why that company stood out to you. I found my summer internship by looking at Boston Innovation’s 50 on Fire Media and Marketing Firm ratings. I scoped out the companies most relevant to my career goals and did some research on them. Some had open internship applications, but I just sent an email to the agency’s general job inquiry email account describing my interest. I attached my resume and cover letter and had an interview set up within a week.

6. Communicate Promptly, Professionally, and with Enthusiasm!

If an employer reaches out to you about your application, answer his or her questions or inquiry promptly. Respond with enthusiasm! Show that you’re excited to discuss the opportunity further, but maintain your professionalism. How badly you want the position is a huge factor for any employer to consider. Nothing speaks louder than passion and it’s impossible to ignore you if you’re a good culture fit.


7. Accept and Expect Rejection

You might not hear back from that big firm you applied to. You might not hear back from the little one either. Rejection is a part of the process and it’s just as important as success. Learn from your mistakes or use it as motivation to keep trying harder. It’s appropriate to inquire about your application after some time if you never heard back, but keep it professional and infrequent. It can be tough to face rejection, but who knows the employer’s rationale. Maybe the competition was extremely intense or they were looking for a particular skill or experience that you didn’t have. Maybe an employer’s personal connection was ushered into the role. Whatever the reason, you won’t know it. You just have to use failure as motivation. Trust that you’ll end up where you were meant to be.


8. Approach with Confidence and Depart with a Lesson

It’s important to bring confidence to the table throughout the entire search process. You know your skills and experiences better than anyone else. Your confidence will prove them true! Whether it’s applying to a prestigious firm, going into an interview, starting your first day at a new job, or moving to a new area, confidence will get you far. However, on the flip side, there is something to be learned from every success and failure. It’s important to be humble, professional, and actively take what you learn into account. Active learning will ignite your career path, but also help you to grow on a personal level as well which is far more valuable than anything–paid internship or not.


Have any questions or a different experience? I’d love to hear them in the comments section!