This past December, I was on the hunt to find a summer internship. Not only for my college major requirement but to gain some experience in the Public Relations field before graduation next May. Within a month and a half, I had applied to over 40 companies for various jobs. It took a while to get responses back, and a good handful never even responded to my application. While that was annoying, I learned many valuable lessons from applying for these internships five months ago. Because looking back, I might have been in a position where I didn't have an internship lined up, and I'd be the one scrambling to find one.
1. You'll just stress yourself out more
Going through the internship process of fixing your resume, writing cover letters, answering additional questions is a lot to handle. And as the end of the year gets closer and closer, you're just going to be a mess that can only think about getting an internship.
2. Then you'll start scrambling
Desperate times equals desperate measures. If you don't have an internship by March or mid-April, you will be applying like crazy. To anywhere that has something to do with your field of study, but you might not even hear back from these places and are back to square one.
3. If this is for college credit, what are you going to do if you don't get one?
For my major, I need to have two internships: one on-campus and one off. The off-campus one had worried me since I changed my major almost two years ago. But I was able to find one after applying for weeks. But what are you going to do if you can't find one before graduation? That can really hurt your future.
4. You'll just get mad at yourself
You'll constantly ask yourself why you didn't start this process sooner. I went through the same thing, and one would think that starting in December would be enough time, but it was still really difficult. So, take that pressure off yourself and apply early. I know it's stressful and nerve-wracking, but it's worth it.
5. You can't be picky
If you're struggling to find an internship, you're going to take the first one you're offered. But that might not be the best one for you, but you'll have no other options. If you start early, you will have the luxury of declining offers for better-suited positions.
6. More applications = more interviews = more experience
It is understood that the more places you apply to, the more interviews you will have. I have had at least twelve interviews for internship positions. By the time I've had my thirteenth and fourteenth, I was much less nervous and felt much more confident. The more times you do something as nerve-wracking as phone interviews, you'll soon become a pro.
7. It takes more time than you think
Applying for internships is nothing like filling out a job application. Your resume has to be perfect, cover letters proofread, LinkedIn profiles professional, etc. I spent an entire day fixing my resume and LinkedIn profile and I didn't have time to apply anywhere. I also pushed through and applied to nine or ten places a day, but that was really pushing it. Applying for jobs is exhausting, so the sooner you start, the better off you will be.
8. You'll be more prepared for post-graduation job applying
This whole process is also a great experience for that after graduation job hunt, which should also start early. But applying to all these places just prepares you for what is to come when you apply for your first real job. It will take a while, and you will need to apply to tens of places.
9. Hiring committees might see you as desperate
If you apply to a place that is nowhere in your field of interest, you are going to apply anywhere you may get a job. You don't want to be seen as desperate. These recruiters are doing you a favor by interviewing you, make their time worth it and apply for jobs you actually want to do.
10. You'll thank yourself if you start months in advance
After reading all these tips and struggles, the bottom line is to apply ASAP. It doesn't matter if it's months in advance, that's actually better. It gives you time to apply and get a head start on the entire process. You can never start too soon. And when you get your first, second, third internship you'll thank yourself for being proactive and starting sooner rather than later.