Finding an amazing summer internship – with a little help from your friends

By Kelly Cleary


Few academic semesters start off in such a busy, sometimes stressful, frenzy as the spring semester for juniors and sophomores who are trying to figure out what they’ll be doing next summer. The fun and relaxation of winter break are distant memories as students try to balance sorting out their course schedules and figuring out the best approach to finding a summer job (and homework, and work-study jobs, and extra-curriculars, and Rush, and returning from study abroad, and so much more.)

Yes, you have OCR, PennLink, iNet, hundreds of industry specific listings on Career Services’ Online Subscriptions page, upcoming career fairs, walk-ins with career counselors, and Penn alumni with whom you can connect with via PACNet and Linkedin— all great resources for finding internship openings and advice for getting your application noticed. But did you know that some of the best resources for figuring out which industries or employers might be a good fit for you, learning about what an intern actually does at a particular employer, and seeking advice for putting together the strongest application are fellow students who have already been through the process?

No, I’m not suggesting you hang out on Locust Walk passing out postcard size versions of your resume (although that would likely get you noticed.) I’m suggesting you talk with your friends and classmates, especially upper-classmen, who have been through the internship search process before, and ask them for advice.  

The recently updated Penn Internship Network, a searchable database with nearly 1,700 current Penn students who have volunteered to speak with other students about their internship, is a fantastic resource for connecting with other students who share your career interests. Search options include industry, major, locations, how students got their job, and a keyword search function. Keep in mind that while the volunteers are usually able to provide helpful information and advice, they are not expected to help you “get the job.” To use this resource, go to (Pennkey is required to gain access.)

And why the Beatles to start this blog? Nearly every time I look at PIN with a student and we scroll down the list of former interns who match his or her targeted search I hear, “Oh my gosh! That’s my friend!” Some of the most helpful internship search resources are closer than you think.

Career Services extends a hearty “thank you” to all of the students who have signed up to be listed in the network.

Author: Kelly

Kelly Cleary is the Senior Associate Director of Career Services for College of Arts & Sciences undergraduates.