How-to land your dream internship

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Spring semester has snuck up on students quickly, which means that deadlines for summer internship applications are due soon.  The stressful process doesn’t have to be as hard. Here are some tips and guidelines for applying.

The resume:

Although you want to believe you are the exception to every rule, you aren’t. Stick to a one-page resume with relevant experience. High school honors aren’t helping you anymore; they’re hurting you.

Applying for an investment banking internship? Your freshmen job as a cashier at Smith’s can go. Do not overcrowd the page with small fonts to fit every job you have ever had. You want your resume to be not only relevant but also aesthetically pleasing and easy to read. Maintain size 10-12 in a basic font and keep your sections well spaced rather than crammed.

[email protected] may have every contact you’ve ever made but create a new e-mail address to list for your professional contacts. Simply use your name to make the e-mail more professional. Also, use this e-mail to send your application in and correspond with your potential employers.

The cover letter:

Invest time researching who the letter should be addressed to. This will go a long way. If you can’t find a name, “Dear Hiring Manager” goes a lot further than “To Whom It May Concern.”

Address your recipient with Mr./Ms. as well as their company position and address. Above this, have a professional signature with your name, address, e-mail and phone number.

Keep the letter short and concise. Share what isn’t in your resume so you avoid redundancy. Lengthiness is a quick turn off to employers.

When applying to multiple internships and mentioning the name of the company you are applying for, make sure to go through and change the name to the right company for every letter. This can be such a rookie mistake in the midst of chaos and multiple applications.


Re-read instructions to apply for internships. Make sure you do not overlook any details. Missing even one step can lose you the internship. If a cover letter and resume is asked for, make sure to send both. Save them as PDFs so the recipient can open them on any device.

Name the internship in the subject line as well as the semester you are applying for to stay organized.

Even if it’s not asked, state your start and end date as well as availability each week in the body of the e-mail. Make sure you still address the body of the e-mail to the recipient as you did in your cover letter.

Sign your e-mail with “best,” and a professional signature. Have another set of eyes look through the body of the-mail and proofread one last time.

If in five to seven days you have not heard anything, send a follow up e-mail about your application and your remaining interest in the the position.

The interview:

It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed, regardless of the position and company. You can’t go wrong with Sunday best.

Come prepared with a copy of your resume on the best paper you have, even if you e-mailed the resume.

If you’re asked a question you don’t know, fess up and take ownership.

Be prepared with a list of questions that YOU want to ask at the end of the interview.


If your interview is local, immediately write a “thank you” card graciously thanking them for the opportunity to be considered and time spent speaking with you. If the interview was phone or Skype out of state, send a “thank you” e-mail later that day.

If you have not heard anything within a few days, send a follow-up e-mail inquiring about the position. Employers eat up thank you notes and follow-ups. These are little things you can do to set yourself apart.

Follow these steps and you could be getting a congratulatory e-mail for an internship this semester.

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