It’s the end of January, time to wrap up warm, make a hot chocolate, and dream of the long lazy days of summer ahead. Half right, we're afraid.
Yes, wrap up warm and get a hot drink but instead of dreaming of long and lazy summer days, you should really get applying for internships. We know we sound like your parents but you really ought to be making the most of your summers – especially if you’re one of those lucky people who has a holiday that lasts forever this year (think post-GCSEs or A Levels, or between university years).
In your super-long summer there will still be plenty of time for relaxing and having fun, but you could also take on a work experience placement or internship with all your free time. It might feel like forever away, but realistically, your exams will be over in about four months – huzzah!
So, you've got four months to get an internship lined up. There’s loads of ways you can go about this. Some companies will advertise their summer internship placements – like O2, they’ve got a whole host of internships available this summer and they’re all listed on the Opportunities pages of this very site. Past interns have really enjoyed their time at O2. Petra Chocolova, who interned in business sales, said: “The people behind the project actually care about your progress, about how you’re doing and if you are happy with the scheme.”
Or you could try using some contacts you’ve already got to help you get a foot in the door. Obviously it can be hard to think of contacts you already have, but think about people you’ve worked for previously. They may have more opportunities for you to work with them over the summer, or they may be willing to recommend you to someone else if you’ve impressed them with your work before. Alternatively, if your parents work or are connected to an industry that interests you, see if they have any contacts that may be willing to take you on for the summer.
Not sure about how to ask a contact for an internship? Well, there are loads of really funny examples of how not to write a cover letter online, but there’s also this really great letter on Business Insider, which although it doesn’t follow all the rules, definitely got people on Wall Street interested.
Of course, not all of us are fortunate enough to have parents who are so well connected. And not all companies advertise their internship opportunities. So then what? Well, all is not lost. Most companies are more than happy to take people on work experience placements or internships – especially over the summer when they may be short staffed.
Don’t be afraid to send an email to a company that you’d like to intern with – even if you don’t have a contact there already and they’re not advertising for interns. If you can find out who’s responsible for interns at the company then send them an email with your CV attached – it shouldn’t be too hard to find this out, just a quick call and the receptionist should be able to tell you. If you don’t hear anything back from applications you’ve sent out, don’t give up hope. It’s likely that the people you’re emailing are busy and inundated with other applications.
If it’s been more than two weeks since you sent an email with your CV attached, pick up the phone and ask if they’ve received your CV. Chances are they have but it’s been lost in an inbox: making a phone call will show that you’re passionate about working with the company and will also remind them to take a look at your CV. You could find that you’re able to arrange an interview or even a placement while you’re on the phone.
So get looking for those summer internships. Remember, you'll still get to enjoy your time off, smug in the knowledge that thinking about your future at the same time.
Summer opportunities on GoThinkBig