Summer is quickly approaching, which means it’s time to lock in those summer internships! As most of you know, I took a summer internship in New York City last year and recently have been asked many questions on the process of finding one and what it was like moving to a new city. So, I figured I’d give a few of my personal experiences and tips to help out my fellow career driven students.
Finding the Internship
If you have your heart set on a certain city, it’s easy to zone in on the companies you wish to intern for. Big or small, it’s important to get your name out there however you can. My first step when I knew I wanted to go to New York City was to contact everyone I knew that lived there or had interned there before and let them know that I was on the lookout. They will help pass your resume along to the right people. Connections are key! If you’re not sure on what company you want to work for, search LinkedIn, Twitter and websites like FindSpark, Intern Match or InternQueen to discover companies in the area.
If you are hoping to intern with a large corporation, search as best as you can for the HR department head to find out who receives the resumes. Typically, you will go into a database that scans your resumes for you and pulls key words that qualify you for a position. Make sure your resume is catered to this.
Then, after you pass your resume along, send a tweet, view profiles on LinkedIn and send a follow-up email a week after to keep your name relevant. Apply for as many companies as possible then once you land the interviews, make sure you find a company that YOU want just as much as they want you. Company culture is crucial to having a great experience.
To be completely upfront, this is probably the most stressful part of the process. Stay patient and do your research as much as possible and doors will open (literally)! Looking for housing in one city while you live in another is not easy, but sites like Airbnb give you good explanations about the large cities.
There are summer housing options that some colleges in the city offer, so if you’re looking for an easy move, that’s the first place I’d start. Since I waned to fully experience NYC livin’, I opted to look for an apartment unaffiliated with summer dorms. I found my roommates on Craigslist and although it sounds sketchy to some people, as long as you are upfront and ask every question in the books, you’ll be fine.
Since I’m most familiar with NYC, here are a few places I looked:
Craigslist – make sure to get as much information as possible: pictures of the interior, exterior and surrounding areas, and utility information. I ended up Skyping with my roommate and she gave me a tour of the apartment. It was perfect.
Airbnb – make sure you let owners know you’re looking for a two-three month stay.
Facebook Groups: Janelle’s List (search on FB), Gypsy Housing
Making the Move
So, you landed the internship, found the perfect apartment and are ready to pack up your life for the summer. The first mistake I made was trying to bring absolutely every item of clothing and small decor to make my apartment a “home.” Yeah, it’s easier said than done. Since I had no idea what New York City was like in the summer, I packed for multiple seasons. Hint: IT’S ONLY HOT, so make sure your work clothes and weekend outfits reflect that. I shipped a couple large boxes to my apartment and packed as much as I could in two suitcases for the plane. Depending on if you’re going with friends or alone, I know I wanted to be as comfortable as possible in a new environment, but don't overpack because it is a pain to bring it all home.
During the Internship
Document everything! Summer internships are the best in my opinion, because you have more free time to really make an impact at your company without being burdened by school work. AND you get to experience an entire new city. I kept a blog of my experiences on Tumblr and it’s been awesome to reflect on to this day. I also wrote a list of tips on interning in New York City HERE and was able to connect with so many interns in the city. It made my experience that much more memorable.
Although this was a brief summary, I will say that my summer internship was an incredible experience with many ups and downs (i.e. no AC in NYC during heat waves, and FOMO from things happening at home). But it has truly expanded my career opportunities, networks and friendships and I highly recommend it.
As always, let me know if you have any specific questions/comments/concerns. Love sharing experiences!