Congratulations! If you’re reading this article, then that most likely means that you have made it to the other side of finals-week (or will soon). Before you get too comfortable being in your flannel pajamas while eating home-cooked food and watching movie marathons, however, it is important to keep in mind that the holiday season can be one for both relaxation and productivity.
Here are some tips to start preparing for a successful new year.
Do Your Research
Although the summer is still half a year away, it is never too soon to start looking for your next internship. In fact, many firms formalize and begin their official recruiting processes in January. Give yourself a leg up on the competition by seeing what’s out there and determining whether you’re both eligible for the opportunity as well as interested in the tasks, material and skill work that it would entail (alongside other logistical considerations, such as housing).
Feel free to start making a list of these possibilities and include any relevant critical information, such as the link to the formal application along with application questions (if applicable) and submission deadline. Organize this list in whichever way makes the most sense to you. This could be according to the alphabet, by the earliest submission deadline, or job location.
Build a Strategy
With these items in mind, you may even want to build an Excel spreadsheet. Doing so will help you both to visualize and quantify the work that you have ahead of you. Begin to formulate a relevant mental schedule by which you plan to write your applications. (An obvious hint – don’t leave them all for the last minute!) Adding columns for ‘Date Submitted’ and ‘Date of Response’ on your spreadsheet will also help you keep track of all of the work that you have done, along with give you a general idea of the current state of the employment market overall, based on the responses you receive (or lack thereof).
Before you even have the opportunity to hear back from firms, however, be sure to submit your application! While 300-word essay responses or cover letters may not seem to be heavy-handed tasks to accomplish, you want to ensure that you put your best foot forward for each and every opportunity. Take the time to make sure that your responses not only answer the appropriate question(s) and bear no spelling or grammatical mistakes, but that they also accurately portray your unique character traits and skills that would make you an ideal candidate.
And, last but not least, also make sure that your resume is up-to-date and reflects relevant work experiences, leadership activities and academic classes for the positions that you’re applying to. Beginning to formulate this sort of internship-hunting strategy may ultimately help to put you leaps and bounds ahead of other students in your very same shoes.
So, whether you find yourself in-between meals recovering from a food coma or end up being tied up to the TV screen watching hours of ski jumping competitions with the grandparents (like I’ll be doing), take a few moments to Google summer internship opportunities. You never know where such a simple task could eventually lead.
Caroline Herrmann is a junior at Duke University majoring in Cognitive Science and minoring in German Studies. She is working on a Markets & Management Studies certificate. Her goal is to attend business school and she would love to work in marketing or consulting in the United States or Europe. She was a part of the first Forté College Leadership Conference and can be found on Twitter at @caroooline717.