How to Get a Summer Internship
Summer internships are a great opportunity to learn real-life work skills and enhance your CV while you're still studying or have recently graduated. Working within teams on projects allows you to put the theory you have learned into practice while making key connections for when it's time to graduate and look for a job. It can be a confusing process though, so two of our new interns, Mohammed Maarouf and Ellen Paik share their top tips on where to look for internships, how to apply for them, and how to make the most out of them.
What do you look for when applying for internships?
Mohammed: I believe the primary three targets for a great internship are company, team, and role. A company that is well-established will typically have a more immersive and structured internship program. It also usually means that you will have other interns to befriend and connect with. While I believe the company is very important, this is trumped by the quality of your team. Most interactions and work you do will be with your direct team, so make sure you are looking for a team that matches your energy and you genuinely enjoy working with. Last, but certainly not least, is the role. Gaining meaningful experience for an internship is sometimes difficult because of the three-month nature of the program. I believe you should always deeply understand the role for which you’re applying, which can be done by asking team members during interviews and thoroughly reading the job description.
Ellen: Strong culture of teamwork and collaboration. Especially within the context of an internship, it’s important to me to work with a group of people that care about, deeply respect, and trust other members of their team.
What are your top 3 tips for those applying for internships?
- Expand your horizon – Apply to as many as you can, but obviously ones that fit the nature of the work you would like to be doing.
- Perfect your resume – Your resume is your first impression. It should contain, in specific language, how you contributed positively to other workplaces. Use a professional resume template to guide your structure. Always keep it to one page, no exceptions!
- The best way to get your name out there is to network. Don’t be afraid to ask someone in your desired role through cold email or LinkedIn request that you’d love to chat. You never know, it may end in a referral!
- Be open-minded – you don’t know what you don’t know!
- Be intentional about leveraging your network – be thoughtful about what you hope to gain from each new conversation and/or connection.
- Respect others’ time – show up to conversations on-time and prepared. Always thank people that have taken time out of their day to help you.
Why do you think applying for internships is important for your career progression?
Mohammed: Many of my peers alongside myself were not sure what we wanted to do post-graduation. Internships give you an immersive three-month experience to witness the work a team is doing within a specific sector, and most times, allow you to engage directly with this work. This helps establish what you enjoy or don’t enjoy doing, guiding future career moves and navigating opportunities. It is also an exceptional way to show recruiters and future employers that you’ve been active in the industry and are challenging yourself to build skills and experience. Recruiters appreciate the time you put in to put your best foot forward for a future team.
Ellen: Internships enable you to learn more about yourself, gain valuable real-world experience, and take risks. If done so thoughtfully, pursuing internships can help you avoid wasting time and/or gain a head start within your career.
What is the best source for internships? Do you find them directly or use platforms?
Mohammed: A targeted Google search is among the most effective way to find opportunities. Searching your role, experience level, and location can result in a myriad of different applications, just on the Google home page. LinkedIn can be a great tool to see when jobs were posted and how their AI ranks you amongst other applicants. This can be a great way to source more opportunities. School job boards and recruiting events are particularly effective. These job boards are specific to your school which means that employers have attempted to directly hire students from your there. Recruiting events, especially in person, allow you to network and put a face to the name on your application.
Ellen: Career service offices at academic institutions are great starting points for internships. However, many internships don’t get listed on school platforms so it’s important to invest in building your network to learn about exciting opportunities that are brand new or aren’t broadly publicized.
What are you most looking forward to during your internship?
Mohammed: I look forward to gaining real-world experience in the Real Estate and VC fields. The opportunity to learn from seasoned experts and work on high-stake projects keeps me excited and always ready to challenge myself.
Ellen: I look forward to immersing myself in the world of corporate venture. I am excited to direct my own skills and perspectives toward identifying potential areas for future growth at the intersection of real estate innovation and VC.
What are you enjoying about Houston and what is your favorite hotspot so far?
Mohammed: I am loving Houston’s cuisine! The food here is delicious and a large part of the experience. In terms of hotspots, I enjoy going to the Galleria and being able to shop for almost anything.
Ellen: I enjoy the diversity of fantastic food offerings in Houston and my favorite hotspot so far is Montrose – the neighborhood has inspired me to get into thrifting!
Need a quiet space to perfect your resume and send out internship applications? The Square has day passes so you can enjoy complete concentration and focus!