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July 25, 2017

Finding a summer internship: a monthly guide

Grace Grieve-Carlson ’19

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Think you'll be swimming in free time come the start of the school year, and looking for fresh ways to spend it?

Riiiight. I didn’t think so. But even with classes, athletics, orgs, jobs and everything else a Mount Holyoke College student commits to, it’s important to keep career planning in the picture. Who knows when the next great opportunity will come your way? Luckily, Mount Holyoke is filled with resources to help you. Here’s a month-by-month guide to finding the perfect internship.

Skinner Green in fall

September – November

Start by talking about your plans with an academic or career advisor. He or she can help refine your thinking and make sure you aren’t missing out on a great College opportunity or resource.

Think about what you want to gain from a summer internship. Do you want to enrich your Mount Holyoke studies? Advance your career goals? Research your field to find out which internship options you may have.

Once you have some ideas about internships — or to generate additional ideas — check out the listings on HandshakeYou can search by industry, location and other factors. And make sure you check out on-campus recruiting opportunities, which are from companies with special relationships to Mount Holyoke. In addition to Handshake, head straight to the websites of the companies and organizations you’re interested in and see if they’re advertising internships.

Keep in mind that postings are only one way to find internships. Reaching out to organizations that don’t have an internship program and simply asking for an internship may work much better than you think. Also, you never know what sort of opportunities you might hear about through networking.

Mary Lyon Hall in winter


So which internships are you considering applying to? Visualize all your options: Make a spreadsheet and include the name of each company or organization along with its time frame, location, pay and application deadline.

Some applications may be due before the end of the year. This is often the case with national companies, so it might be time to get your applications out! Give yourself time before your applications are due to spruce up your resume and cover letter. Make an appointment at the CDC for another set of eyes. All the while, there are sure to be new internships popping up on Handshake, so keep checking it out.


Take some time to relax during winter break. Really!

After enough relaxing, apply to some of the internships on your list. Whether an internship’s deadline is this month or is several weeks away, now is a great time to crank out some applications. The spring semester gets intense pretty quickly, right? Again, new internships will continue to pop up, so it’s a good idea to keep looking.

Lower Lake in winter


This month will have lots of deadlines. Make sure that between classes and cocurriculars, you schedule enough time to stay on top of applications.

If you’re eligible for Lynk funding for unpaid or low-paying internships or research experiences and are planning to apply, remember that the deadline for Step 1 is 5:00 pm on the third Friday of February, which in 2019 is February 15. You don’t have to know what internship you’ll be doing this summer, but you need to have gone through Lynk orientation and advising and have polished your resume.

Be sure to have your deadlines on the calendar. And get your applications in with plenty of time to spare.

Williston Memorial Library in spring

March – May

Ideally, you will have heard back from most companies and organizations by this time. Once you know your options for the summer, hone in on exactly what path you want to choose. If you’re having trouble choosing between different opportunities, consider the goals you thought of while you were looking for internships. What position aligns with what you want to accomplish this summer?

If you haven’t yet landed an internship you want, it isn’t too late. Keep looking on Handshake and keep applying: Some companies have later deadlines. If a company or an organization doesn’t have information on internships, don’t be afraid to contact it with your resume and say that you are interested in summer work. Convincing an organization to take you on if it doesn’t usually hire interns isn’t always easy, but it can be done, especially at smaller locations. An internship you create yourself can be very rewarding.

If you’re eligible for Lynk UAF, report your secure, qualified internship and complete the online training by 5:00 pm on the last day of the spring semester finals, which in 2018 is May 7.

Lower Lake in summer

By taking a few steps every month, the process of finding an internship can become a lot less daunting. The biggest factor in finding an internship you’ll love is deciding on what you want to get out of your to-be-determined position. Decide on your goals and keep them in mind throughout your search.

With Mount Holyoke’s career resources at the ready, you’ll be ready, too. Go forth and find a great internship!

Take it step by step — with us. Visit us!

Grace Grieve-Carlson ’19, an English major and Arabic minor, is a marketing and design assistant at the Career Development Center. She is the general manager of WMHC and hosts a radio show on Friday afternoons. She is also a member of the Unusual Suspects improv troupe, a cartoonist for the Mount Holyoke News and co-leads the student organization Comedy Collective.
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