It’s a question we get a lot here in English Advising:
when should one start looking for summer internships?
We answered it in October, but as summmer 2017 draws closer, it’s time to answer it again.
The answer? Yes.
Which is to say, it’s never too soon to start
- thinking about what kind of a summer internship you want;
- considering your options: can you manage on an unpaid internship or do you need a summer income? Do you need to live at home or can you relocate for the summer?
- researching the existing internship opportunities with companies you know you want to work with;
- following various job boards and seeing what opportunities come up; and
- preparing your resume(s).
English, unlike some other majors, has no set time-frame for finding internships. How could it? Narrower, more career-focused majors channel students towards a handful of corporations that aggressively recruit students for specific entry-level positions. In these fields, internships have evolved as a cost-effective way for companies to identify potential long-term hires.
Some English and creative-writing majors choose to compete for those kinds of internship programs. A degree in English doesn’t limit you, however, to large-scale corporate recruiting opportunities. You have choices that are not always available to students in other majors, about how and where you want to apply your skills. Nonprofits? Small start-ups? Large foundations? An in-house communications department? A marketing/PR consultancy? A small or midsize business? Do you want to solve the world’s problems? Make a lot of money? Do a job when you’re always learning? Work one-on-one helping people?
The internships you seek will vary, depending on your goals, and so will their deadlines.
If you want a summer internship and you haven’t started looking, NOW would be a good time to start.
- Start checking I-Link regularly to see what employers are already looking for summer interns.
- If you are willing to relocate for the summer, look at the websites of your dream employers to see if they offer internships. MANY do! Internships at media and entertainment companies that you’ve heard of tend to be highly competitive, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t make the attempt.
- Check Bookjobs.com for internships in the publishing industry.
- Check Idealist.org for summer internships at nonprofits.
- Prepare to attend the winter and spring campus career fairs. Research the companies who will be there and go with a plan to talk to the specific employers that interest you.
- Is there an organization you’d like to work for that doesn’t have an internship program? Some places may be open to working with you to create an opportunity.
- Keep in mind that some local opportunities (e.g., the UIntern program) may not be advertised until the spring semester is underway.
Internships are not the only path to professional experience. They can be a great way to explore your options and start networking, but other summer activities may better equip you for your particular goals: a part-time or summer job that builds your skills, volunteer work with an organization that interests you, intensive involvement in your RSO, or time devoted to a project of your own.