Five tips for conquering summer internship stress

Steven Watts, Features Editor

Drawing by Liam Killian

Finding an internship can be stressful, and often feel overwhelming. As internship opportunities begin to fill up, here are some tips to getting the best internships that you can this summer.

  • Take advantage of resources at the Hart Career Center. The Career Center at IWU has so many tools to help you on your search for internships. You can use Handshake to browse internships and job opportunities. You can also store cover letters, resumes and letters of recommendation so that employers have easy access to your information. They also have a number of websites on their homepage that offer career guides and helpful information for different fields you may be interested in. If you want more help, you can stop by the career center to make an appointment where an advisor will help you form an action plan.
  • Start looking early. One mistake a lot of people make when looking for internships is waiting too long to start searching for opportunities. The most attractive summer internship offers are usually open for applications and start hiring in the fall. I had my first interview for my summer internship in September and was hired at the end of October after four more.
  • Be sure to prepare for interviews the right way. Before you have an interview, start preparing responses for common questions that you employers may ask you.

Make sure that your responses aren’t fully memorized, but have an idea of what you’d like to say. If you sound too rehearsed, the interviewer won’t be impressed. Practice interviews are also offered at the Hart Career Center. You can also use their resource Big Interview for more basic knowledge on how you should be interviewing, and to record yourself in a sample interview to see how you can improve.  

  • Find opportunities that could help you gain work experience, even if it’s not the exact job you want. When I was looking into internships, I quickly learned that it would be hard for me to find a position in actuarial sciences with the level of experience that I had. I broadened my search to include more opportunities, but still focused on the insurance field. That way, I’ll still gain connections with people in the industry that I’d like to work in.
  • Networking is key. Because searching for an internship can be overwhelming with the number of options and companies you could apply for, try and find connections in your field. I found my internship by getting in contact with an IWU alum. She interviewed me and pushed me forward in the hiring process with great recommendations. IWU has a great reputation at a lot of companies, and you should use that to your advantage. You can also attend career fairs at ISU or IWU that present a number of great opportunities and can help you build connections before applying for a position.

Searching for internships can be very stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. As long as you stay ahead of the game, use your resources and be prepared, you’ll start to see opportunities lining up.