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Ask Ainsley: Am I too late in applying for a summer internship?

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Dear Ainsley,

I am having trouble finding an internship for this summer. I’ve applied for a few, but have been rejected from some and haven’t heard back from others. My friends are starting to get acceptances, and I can’t help but compare myself to them. I’m worried it’s now too late to apply for any new positions. What should I do?

Sincerely,

Anxious About Internships (AAI)


Dear AAI,

First of all, don’t worry! It is not too late to be applying for summer internships. Although you may feel stressed, know that many students are in the same situation as you. It’s easy to compare yourself to the people who landed star internships this year, but remember that they probably got a few rejections themselves before receiving an acceptance. Many companies are still searching for summer interns into April and May, so keep looking.

First things first, it’s important to learn efficient and effective ways to search for an internship to save yourself time you can use to work on your CV. Start your hunt on a job search engine like Indeed or idealist.org. Narrow down your options by putting in your specific field of interest and preferred location. While it’s advisable to keep an open mind in searching and not limit your results too much, figure out what your deal breakers are, and weed out results accordingly.

I’d also recommend checking your personal networks for possible opportunities. Ask your friends or family if they know of any job availabilities where they work—if you have a friend who did a cool internship last summer, see if you can get their employer’s email, and ask them personally to express interest. In the same vein, consider reaching out to your previous employers; they may know others looking to hire within the same field. Keep an eye out for networking events around campus—such as program-specific Wine and Cheese nights—since these are held to help students get to know professors and professionals in their line of work.

Once you’ve found an internship and are ready to apply, the most important thing to do is to make sure your CV is up to date and that, along with your cover letter, it is suited to the position for which you’re applying. If you aren’t sure how to do this, McGill’s Career Planning Services (CaPS) or your faculty’s career office can be a great resource to help get you started. They hold information sessions as well as provide comprehensive online guides on all things job and internship-related.

If you’ve already applied to summer internships but are not receiving any acceptances, worry not! It’s important to remember that some of the most successful people are those who have also been rejected the most, but kept their chin up and kept going for new opportunities anyway. Think of job rejection the way you would romantic rejection: If a job doesn’t want you, you don’t want that job. It’s likely that another position that you’d be even better for will come along in the future, and you’ll be glad you didn’t get distracted by subpar internships in the mean time.

If you end up job-less this summer, there are still plenty of meaningful ways you can fill your time and boost your CV. Consider taking an intensive course in a valuable skill, like coding, that will make you more employable in the future. Reach out to local non-profits to volunteer your time, or consider getting a part-time job to save up money for the future—you never know when you’ll be offered a great job in an expensive city, and you’ll be glad to have rent money saved up so you can take it without hesitation.

Whether you’re finding it difficult to land a job or an internship for this summer, or have yet to begin the search, don’t worry. Continue to apply and you’ll see that there is always an opportunity waiting around the corner—you just have to go out and look for it.

 

Wishing you the best,

Ainsley

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