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It’s that time of year when college students begin their search for summer internships. Summer internships before junior and senior year are extremely important because they can possibly lead you straight to full time employment after graduation. But how do you land that dream internship you’ve been searching for?

Create a résumé:

Companies want to look at a student’s résumé, so make sure you have one. If you don’t have one there are many books and web sites that will show you how to create a great one. (Here’s our guide). And if you do have one, be sure that it’s up to date with all of your experience and looks very professional. This means one page, single spaced and absolutely no typos.

Have experience:

A company may not hire you unless you have previous experience. Join clubs at your school and intern during the year if possible. Add this experience to your résumé. If you’re interested in writing, join your school’s literary magazine. If you’re interested in singing, join one of the singing groups on campus. If you’re interested in politics, see if you can get an internship with local politics around your school. Any experience is better than no experience.

Get a LinkedIn:

If you don’t already have a LinkedIn, you need to step up your game. This professional website is great for connecting with current and past students and professors as well as professionals you know and look up to. LinkedIn also posts internship opportunities. By keeping your LinkedIn profession and up to date, you’re moving in the right direction.

Do your research:

Research what kind of internship you want, the type of company you’d like to work for, and what position you may be suited for. Don’t just apply to random internships; explore what you want to do and narrow it down. Once you’ve picked a company or field, do some more investigating and you’ll become a pro. Also, look through a company’s website and remember facts to quote during an interview. Knowing a company inside and out will help you stand out during an interview.

Don’t worry about GPA:

Don’t fret over that B- you got last semester! Most internships don’t look at your GPA, However, some internships do state that you need at least a 3.0 to apply, so keep on the lookout for that.

The interview:

Interviewing is an important part of finding an internship. When you get an interview, be professional; sit up straight, dress accordingly, and don’t say “um” or “like” too much. Be sure to shake the interviewers hand, hold eye contact the entire time, and smile! Before the interview, prepare for some of the questions they may ask you, like what are your strengths and weaknesses? Why should we hire you? Why do you want to work here? Remember to ask the interviewer questions also, like what are the daily intern tasks?

Follow up:

Following up with the person who interviewed you is very important; it shows you care! Write an email or a hand-written letter shortly after the interview so you are fresh in their head, giving you an advantage.

There are great websites to find internships, such as internmatch.com, internqueen.com, internships.com, indeed.com and even LinkedIn. Don’t apply to only two or three internships, apply to as many as you find interesting! Don’t limit yourself, and put yourself out there.

Are you looking for a summer internship now?