My Summer Internship Search – How to Begin?

By: S. David Ross, Associate Director

Each year, I meet with students wondering about their summer internship search. A frequent question that surfaces during many of these conversations is how to begin. While there is no blueprint or magic formula, here are some ideas to consider when you decide to start the process:

Consider the types of internships you want to pursue. Sometimes students will begin looking for internships and applying for opportunities before giving careful thought to what they ideally want to do for the summer.  Beginning your search knowing the industries and functions you want to work in can be very helpful. If you are unsure or open to a few different areas, that’s fine – just take some time to really think about what you are looking for in an internship and what you hope to gain out of the experience before you proceed.

Update your resume. You never know when you will need it to pass along to any contacts you meet or to apply for any early application deadlines. Be sure to include new entries from the Fall semester and, of course, proofread carefully before sending out.

Identify individuals in your personal network you can contact. Creating a list of people that you know beyond individuals working directly at companies of interest to you can be a great starting point. Think about any connections you have developed since your last search and those who you know best and have the strongest relationships with you. These are potential contacts that you may want to reach out to and discuss your interests for next summer, which ultimately may generate leads for your internship search and a group of individuals who may be willing to assist you in some capacity as the process unfolds.

Create your own calendar of recruiting events happening at Penn and off-campus. As a Penn student, you have access to a wonderful array of career-related events on campus throughout the year. Given the vast number of events and programs, it may be helpful to add them to your calendar and keep track of events with representatives from companies that interest you.

Develop an internship search spreadsheet to document your progress. On your spreadsheet, include information on the company name, position title, recruiter name and contact information, application date and application status to keep organized once you start submitting internship applications.

Schedule an appointment or stop by during walk-in hours to meet with a Career Services advisor. We are happy to meet with you to help you create a strategy based on your individual interests.

Author: David

David Ross is a Senior Associate Director of Career Services for Wharton undergraduates and occasional blogger for "Penn & Beyond."