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Use Your Winter Break to Research and Apply for Summer Internships

During the long break from classes, you'll probably find you have some serious free time. Don't let this opportunity go to waste. One of your resolutions for the new year should be to set aside some time during the break to research summer internship opportunities and complete or prepare applications.

Internships offer several advantages for college students. You may be able to find a paid opportunity or one that offers flexible hours. In addition, an internship position can provide you with valuable workplace skills, a good way to try out careers associated with your studies and the experience that will set you apart from other candidates for permanent jobs.

Research First

Whether you are spending most of your break time catching up on sleep or working a job, make the internship search part of your daily routine.

Think about how much time you would have spent studying during a normal weekday. Start spending that amount of time searching online for internship opportunities, reviewing requirements and learning about companies offering internships. Start by thinking of companies that you would like to work at. Don't leave out your dream job or places you think would never consider you at this point. Once you have a starting list, you can search for internships by key word descriptions to find additional businesses you may not have considered at first.

Employment sites are a good place to start looking for advertised openings. You can also sign up to receive postings sent to you based on your areas of interest. Also look for opportunities posted on the websites of the organizations on your list.

Research the companies you plan to apply with and keep a set of notes for each one. Having a list of things you like or admire about a company, along with a basic understanding of what they do and how you might be able to help them, as reference points when you're working on applications can help you stand out from others.

Schedule Time to Work on Applications

As you find internships that interest you, be sure to keep track of the company, what the application requirements are and what the application deadline is.

List deadlines in your calendar or planner and aim to send in applications early. Try to work backward by planning when you need to have reference letters in hand and your resume and cover letter completed and then block time off to complete those tasks.

Learn More

You may be able to schedule virtual informational interviews or visit businesses during winter break. Treat the experience purely as a learning and networking opportunity and leave a positive and lasting impression with managers, employees and human resources. If those at the company are impressed with your attitude and abilities, you could move to the top of the list when it comes time to offer internships for the summer.

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