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Tips on how to get a summer internship

Summer is here and it’s likely that many organisations have already recruited their summer interns but if you haven’t even started looking don’t give up hope just yet as there's still time to land your perfect work placement!


Tip 1 – Grab their attention

It’s a harsh reality but many employers who receive a couple of hundred emails every day are very likely to delete emails with subject lines such as ‘work experience’ or ‘seeking internship’ without even reading them. You need a catchy subject line that’s intriguing and grabs their attention if you want to stand out from the crowd.

Tip 2 – Address your request to a specific person

Generic ‘Dear Sir / Madam’ emails aren’t going to get you very far these days. Research the company and exactly who you want to work for. Call the company to find out email addresses or research the company via LinkedIn and maybe contact that particular person directly if you can.

Tip 3 – Do your research

Exhaust every option for learning everything you possibly can about the company – not just on their own website, but look at their social media channels and blogs, recently published news items, and what other people are saying about the company. Being able to show that you’ve taken the time to do this demonstrates enthusiasm and motivation and dropping this into conversation or on your introductory email will earn you brownie points.

Tip 4 – Show you understand the company’s ethos

Once you’ve done your research think about what the ultimate goals are of the company and what strategies and activity they undertake to achieve them. Giving some forethought to this can help you establish your own opinion about the company’s position alongside its competitors and help shape your ideas on what positive contribution you can make as an intern.

Tip 5 – Keep it professional but engaging

Spend a good amount of time writing and reviewing your introductory email. Ensure it’s to the point and concise but effectively communicates the main reasons why this potential employer should consider taking you on as an intern. Ask yourself, what are your selling points, how do they fit with the company and what might pique the reader’s interest.

Tip 6 – Give your CV a makeover

Consider how you can improve your CV and tailor it to the company you’re sending it to. You’d be surprised how many CVs contain spelling mistakes and give readers a bad impression. Ask friends and family to read over your CV to help you spot these obvious mistakes. It’s also a good idea to research online the main mistakes made on CVs and make sure you don’t fall foul!

Tip 7 – Don’t give up

Keep trying. Don’t be disheartened if you receive negative replies, or don’t even get a reply at all. Sadly this is the reality of the job market but take comfort from the fact that everyone is in the same boat. If you do receive a reply, even if it’s a ‘no’, take the time to write back and thank them for their consideration. Ask them to bear you in mind in the future and perhaps ask them if they have any suggestions as to how you can find work experience or whom they would recommend you approach. You never know, they might give you a little gem of insider knowledge that can help your search.

Tip 8 – Next year start your search earlier

If you’re serious about finding a summer internship that gives you the practical skills to prepare for entering the job market then you’ll have a higher chance of landing an internship and a far wider choice of internships to pick from if you start your search early.

Written by Lydia Casey