Here are some helpful tips to finding an internship that I’ve picked up along the way:
Start looking early. Companies will start internship interviews months ahead, sometimes up to six months depending on the size of the company. A head start is vital, because if you want to find an internship for Fall 2022, you might have to start looking within the next few months! Back in November, I was interviewed for a Cosmetics Merchandising Assistant Internship with Victoria Secret (which I ended up being offered!), but the internship itself doesn’t actually start until May.
Apply for as many as you possibly can. When applying for summer internships, I applied to over 60 based in New York City. Only seven got back to me. Internship positions sometimes have hundreds of applicants. Even if it’s a company you’re not initially excited to intern for, give it a try; you might end up loving it. A helpful tip is setting post notifications on LinkedIn, which allows you to set an alert every time an internship in your field and city is posted. This is also great because you can be one of the first people to apply.
Write a cover letter. Trust me, I know how annoying this can get, especially when I just recommended applying for as many as possible, but it makes all the difference. Some applications only require you to send in your resume and portfolio, but if it is optional to send a cover letter, do it! Take every chance to show you’re the right candidate for this position. If you’re asking, “Why can’t I send the same cover letter with each application?” my answer is ... because companies can tell when you do that. When I applied to internships, I had a template cover letter I would use, and I would then cater it to each application.
No positions available at your dream company? Reach out to them. Let's say you really want to work for a certain brand, but they do not have any internships posted. Look up the employees of that company on LinkedIn and contact them. (Maybe there's an LIM alum working there who you could write to!) Ask if they’re looking for an intern, or if there are any opportunities available. Just because they have not posted any openings does not mean they’re not in need of an intern. I have many friends who have gotten an internship through reaching out to the companies' employees. This shows initiative on your part.
Look at the requirements. Don’t waste your time! Make sure the internships you’re applying for meet the requirements of your internship course. If you’re looking for Internship 1 or Internship 2, you will have different hour requirements than someone looking for full-time intern position.
Just to clarify, I’m not saying you should let one of the listed position requirements prevent you from applying. If it says you need experience in excel and you don’t have any, please still apply! If an interviewer likes your work ethic and your energy, they may still hire you and start off with the skill-training you need. Of course, before the interview, try to get some familiarity with whatever it is they require like Adobe, or Photoshop, or any other software.
Be optimistic. This can be extremely hard, I know. But trust me when I tell you, we’re all in the same boat. We are all looking for valuable experience to add to our resume. I promise when you least expect it, the perfect internship will come to you if you put in the work.