How to Land Your First Internship
Are you eager to land your first summer internship, but not sure where to begin? These tips and tricks will guide you through the search process!
You’ll want to start by making a “game plan” and assessing your skills, values, and interests. If you haven’t already, you may wish to schedule an appointment at the Career Center and complete a personality assessment to discover your strengths, and how you can leverage them for your career.
Next, you’re ready to search and apply. Prepare your job search tools and create a resume that highlights your strengths and experiences. When creating a resume, think about the experiences you want to highlight, your strongest technical skills, and the overall format or presentation of your skills and experiences on paper. You may also include other details about your background that make you unique, such as extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and leadership experience. Check out this list of tips on crafting a stellar resume.
Research the companies you would like to apply to and keep track of deadlines. Develop a list of 25 target companies and organizations that interest you. To learn about opportunities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, computing, and healthcare, check out the Career Cornerstone Center’s website.
Use these other tools and resources to support your search:
- GETexperience: Science-based research internships, fellowships, summer jobs
- Horticulture and Green Industry
- Science.gov: Internship and Fellowship Opportunities in Science
- American Association for the Advancement of Science internship opportunities
- National Science Foundation Research experience for undergraduates
- University of Virginia Internship Program
Apply to the positions you are interested in and submit a customized resume and cover letter for each opportunity. Your cover letter should include a basic introduction, examples from your past that show how you’ll be successful in the position you’re applying for, and other qualities that make you a good “fit” for the company.
Follow up with a phone call to make sure your application has been received, and reach out to references to ask their permission to use them in your job search. Keep them informed throughout the process and let them know when you receive an offer!
Be flexible! Understand that there will be many twists and turns throughout the search process, so you must be prepared to adapt. Be realistic and open to options you had not previously considered.