Tell me if this sounds familiar.

You are home for Thanksgiving with a ton of dirty laundry, its cold and all you want to do is eat turkey… Summer and that dream internship in an exotic location are the furthest things from your mind.

Next thing you know, its May and you still have no idea how to write a CV let alone find an internship for the end of the month. You find yourself going back to your usual summer job at your local restaurant/bar /sewage company. You vow that next year you will be better.

Full disclosure: this was my life for the first two years of college.

Now that I’m older and wiser and that my job is to help people find internships, here is what I’ve learned.

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to think about internships

1. SOME INDUSTRIES HAVE EARLY DEADLINES

If you’re planning on applying for internships in government organisations, engineering firms, financial institutions and defence contractors you need to APPLY NOW. These industries have some of the earliest deadlines because of fierce competition and lengthy background checks.

If you wanted to apply for the CIA’s internship program you’re already too late. So make sure to track the deadlines of your dream internships so as not to miss out!

2. YOU WILL HAVE MORE TIME TO EXPLORE YOUR OPTIONS

Intern at home or abroad? What industry? Big or small company? Paid or unpaid? Hands on experience or more of an observational role? These are all important questions you should give yourself time to consider.

3. YOU WILL HAVE MORE TIME TO FIGURE HOW TO FINANCE YOUR INTERNSHIP

Internships can be expensive, especially if you are planning on going abroad or in a major expensive city. Thankfully there are a lot of solutions out there, from getting a part-time job to applying for scholarships or financial aid. However, all these options require planning ahead!

4. YOU WILL HAVE TIME TO BUILD YOUR CV TO BECOME THE IDEAL CANDIDATE

If you figure out early where you want to apply, you can also figure out what the requirements are for that particular position. This might mean taking a language course, getting some volunteering experience, improving your maths skills… If you are serious about getting hired, companies will certainly appreciate your commitment to the internship. This could make all the difference in a competitive field.

5. INTERNSHIP PROVIDERS WILL HAVE MORE TIME JUST FOR YOU

Here at ImmerQi we experience the same phenomenon every year: a HUGE increase in applications around March when you guys all freak out about not finding a summer internship. Of course, we still try our best to find the best internships for everyone but we are spread much thinner and many of the top companies we work with have already filled up their internship spots. Applying that little bit earlier means internship providers will have more time to dedicate just to you!

The Thanksgiving Action Plan

I know you would rather be eating turkey and spending time with friends and family so I’ve made a quick plan of things you should aim to get done this holiday. This shouldn’t take more than two hours and will save you a lot of stress later on.

  • FIGURE OUT WHAT INDUSTRIES YOU ARE INTERESTED IN

The top 16 industries we use when asking potential interns about industry preferences

Your first Thanksgiving homework is to make a shortlist of industries you are interested in. Try to keep the industries fairly broad to begin with so as to get a real feel for the types of internships that are out there. As you go through the other points on this action plan you should be able to naturally refine your search.

  • FIGURE OUT WHERE IN THE WORLD YOU WANT TO WORK

Maybe you want to find an internship in your hometown to save on costs and have a more relaxed summer. Maybe you want to travel to the other side of the world to discover a new culture and get out of your comfort zone. Maybe you have no idea.

Stay openminded and figure out what is important to you and what you feel comfortable with.

Personally, I chose to come to China because my friend was going and I wasn’t brave enough to travel somewhere new by myself. Not the bravest approach but 5 years later my friend is back in the UK and I’m still here!

Once you have a clearer idea of what you want to do and where you want to go, its a good idea to start looking for what’s out there. Here are some of my favourite resources for finding an internship:

Google (simple but effective)

– Job search websites such as Internmatch

– If you are looking to intern overseas Go Abroad and Go Overseas are a good place to start!

  • FIGURE OUT THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THESE POSITIONS

What do you need to do to get this internship? Is it feasible? How can you make it happen?

  • SEEK ADVICE

The best thing about doing this over Thanksgiving is having access to friends and family for advice! But remember you can also seek advice from teachers, counsellors or internship experts.

  • MAKE A LONG-TERM PLAN

You can almost relax! Just figure out what remains to be done before application deadlines and then eat your turkey. Here’s a checklist to help:

Focus on experience that will help your application

Figure out a realistic plan to finance your internship

Tailor your CV to the internship and make sure it is perfect

 Write an amazing cover letter

 Apply!!!

 

Congrats! Now you can relax and enjoy your pumpkin pie! You earned it.

 

Thinking about interning in China? Click HERE to see opportunities!

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