How to Score Your Dream Summer Internship

How to Score Your Dream Summer Internship

Competitive searching starts early to find success.

“Having an internship with the Global Marketing team at Nutanix helped me find what I wanted to do with my future career,” said Ilana Bonell, a recent UGA graduate who majored in advertising and minored in design and media.

In January, Bonell began full-time work at Nutanix, with the same team she interned with. Her trajectory suggests that landing a summer internship that syncs with your desired career path is a great way to further build your resume and improve your chances at regular employment.

Educator Mark D. Fisher suggests college students start early when seeking a summer internship.

However, education consultant Mark D. Fisher says that “a student should not think that they are the only ones applying for that position. It becomes even more important to apply early and not procrastinate.”

The AJT spoke to Jewish metro Atlanta college students and educators to get their perspectives on summer internship success.

Eli Minsk, a graduate of The Davis Academy and North Springs High School, is a freshman at UNC Chapel Hill. Throughout school and now college, Minsk has run his own business in retail arbitrage, allowing him to seek summer internships without pay. He said, “money is not my number one priority now; it is simply to get work experience in the business world, preferably in something finance-related.”

Eli Minsk has successfully run his own business in retail arbitrage throughout high school and college, preparing him to find a summer internship.

As a freshman, he noticed that many internships were looking for students who were sophomores or juniors, so he focused on those LinkedIn listings that didn’t mention an age requirement. Minsk also networks by reaching out to his parents’ friends and contacts, and has even considered working in New York City, although he said, “leaving Georgia is not ideal, with needing a place to stay as one reason.”

To learn more about navigating the summer internship application process, Minsk reads books like Grant Cardone’s “Sell or Be Sold.” He says that the author lays out advice on how to sell yourself to others, such as during a job interview, by being initially sold on yourself.

Jodie Goldberg wants to further her interest in law with an internship.

Jodie Goldberg, a junior attending Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, is a history major with a double minor in Spanish and music. She began searching for a summer internship during the fall of 2021, with the plan of attending law school after graduation. Her college directly helped her get one internship, while networking by a parent proved to be invaluable for a second one.

Muhlenberg’s history department had sent out an email describing a paid summer internship for two or three research assistant positions, working directly with a professor at the University of Nebraska. The work — digitizing court cases from 19th century runaway slaves — combined history and legal studies. Goldberg thanks her mother for leading her to the second internship with Atlanta Legal Aid, where she saw a Facebook posting for licensed attorneys.

Goldberg responded by asking about summer internships. “I spoke about my pre-law career track and how working for Atlanta Legal Aid aligned with my future plans. I also pointed out how my being fluent in Spanish could reach out to people who appreciate getting legal help from someone who speaks the same language,” she said. Final acceptance for the internships and her decision are expected by the end of the semester.

Ethan Engel is on his way to a summer internship in Israel through the Onward program.

In November 2021, having never been to Israel, but having heard from many UGA alumni that it was an incredible experience, Ethan Engel, a 20-year-old UGA sophomore from Marietta, was the first to apply for a summer internship with the Onward program. Engel participated in two virtual interviews and submitted his resume and an essay that spoke about his affinity for management consulting and helping businesses figure out their models. He said that the Onward internship is “an awesome opportunity, where the acceptance is based on learning more about your field of interest … and to do it in Israel! There are so many tech startups and new business ventures there.”

Engel is looking forward to being introduced to real world situations and working alongside the people making decisions, in crucial moments such as when a startup launches a new product. Already thinking ahead to his junior year, he said, “I will apply to all of the large management firms as soon as possible to get a summer internship in 2023, knowing it will be more competitive to find one going into my senior year. But for this summer, the Onward’s internship, where I will be living in Tel Aviv, is the right decision for me.” Engel appreciates his parents’ support for this opportunity, and for agreeing that he should “value the experience over the salary.”

Iris Wickham, a sophomore at Emory, is pursuing a double major in anthropology and finance. Using LinkedIn as her primary resource, Wickham followed her interest in how corporate philanthropy can impact the world to find a paid summer internship with NortonLifeLock, a cybersecurity company that shared her philosophy. When asked how she successfully attained a paid internship as a freshman, Iris said, “I used my freshman year to find my passions and become as involved as possible, and I think that shined through to different companies. It took countless applications, but I received invaluable experience this past summer and I would encourage all freshmen to apply to internships that interest them, even if the positions seem out of reach.” Now, having started to search for her next internship this past fall, Wickham hopes to find an opening at an impact investing firm that will help her gain additional experience.

Iris Wickham followed her interest in corporate philanthropy to find a paid summer internship with NortonLifeLock, a cybersecurity company that shared her philosophy.

Bonell’s advice for interns looking for a full-time position? “It’s very important to show your manager you are willing to put 110% effort into all of your projects. Make sure to always ask questions and learn about the team you are working with.” She says the more experience you have before you graduate, the more likely you are to get the job you are looking for. “LinkedIn is a great spot to apply to internships and make connections with other professionals!”

As a clinical associate professor in Georgia State University’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, Michael Shapiro also serves as the undergraduate internship coordinator.

He says the search for college internships should start as early as possible. Indeed, Shapiro begins working with students more than six months before they go out into the field, since internships give college students the “real life experiences they need to complement their coursework.”

After an interview with a potential internship employer, he recommends that interns correspond with a brief “thank you” message, which helps to build a professional network. The message should remind the person about how they met, thank them for taking the time to talk with the student and close with a statement that leaves the door open for future contact. While the message can be sent via email, a handwritten note goes a long way toward making a favorable impression, Shapiro says.

GSU Associate Professor Michael Shapiro is the undergraduate internship coordinator in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology.

Fisher, the education consultant, says that “one of the best ways to learn about possible internships is talking to the staff that works in a career center or an administration office specifically working for internship opportunities. One needs to understand their potential careers. For the company sponsoring the internship, the advantage is that they get to know the student as a potential employee. That saves the company time and money in obtaining employees.”

For students who excel in time management, or who already know what career they hope to pursue, the competitive search for internships can start from November and run through January and February. It’s an early bird’s world out there, and those who wait till spring or the end of their second semester may find themselves missing out.

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