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Getting a summer internship is the best way to meet your potential graduation requirement while also earning some money before school starts. Knowing when to apply depends on various factors but ultimately, the right time to start applying for internships depends on your personal timeline and the company application deadline. 

When you should apply 

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ 2017 Internship & Co-op Survey Report, companies begin recruiting interns eight months in advance. Summer internships could have application deadlines as early as late fall. 

If you’re looking for a little bit more time to apply, don’t worry! This early application deadline is not carried out by all companies. In fact, most employers often set their due dates between January and March. This time frame gives them enough time to conduct all onboarding due diligence before your internship starts at the beginning of the summer. 

While figuring out when is a good time to start applying, there are some things you should know. Keep reading below to find out how you can stay ahead of the game. 

Be aware of deadlines

Be wary of deadlines, especially if you’re applying for several companies at the same time. Bigger companies and government agencies have a longer onboarding process, which in turn means their deadlines are pretty early. 

On the other hand, smaller companies and/or startups have a broader window for application. I think that as long as you’re aware of these differences among each employer, you should be fine. 

Knowing your application deadlines will keep you ahead of the game. Therefore, if you have problems with keeping tabs on each date, I suggest you write them down or put them in your calendar so you don’t forget.

What if I decide to wait?

Waiting around before applying can be both good and bad. Taking your time will give you enough time to polish up your resume and professional profile. The more put together your professional profile looks, the more qualified you will look for the job. 

However, you might be playing with fire if you wait around for too long. Deadlines can sneak up quickly and before you know it, it’s the last day to apply. However, it’s totally okay if you want to take your time, just be on the lookout for each deadline and give yourself enough time to still apply on time.

Oops! I’m applying late.

Applying late for an internship is not the end of the world, especially if you’re applying for an unpaid internship. The good news is that unpaid internships can be arranged as late as a month prior to the start date. 

Why are unpaid internships more flexible with deadlines?

Unlike a normal paid internship, most unpaid opportunities don’t require the additional paperwork needed to enroll in the company’s payroll system. 

When it’s time to apply: What to do?

You’re finally ready to apply. Congrats for taking the next step on your career journey! I know how nerve-wracking this whole process can be, especially if you’re doing this for the first time.

Showcasing yourself as a great candidate plays a huge role in your chances of getting any job. 

To increase your chances of landing a summer internship, be sure to update the following before applying:

  • Resume 
  • Reference list 
  • Online network profile 
  • Portfolio 

To sum this all up, you should start applying for internships depending on which companies you wish to apply for. Remember, your internship will not only add more value to your resume but it will also give you great exposure to your career path. So don’t forget to make the most out of this experience. 

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