Advice for Finding a Summer Internship
Although next summer may feel far away, for students hoping to complete a summer internship in an industry setting, the fall is a key time for finding and applying for internships.
Where to begin: Finding positions
It can be hard to know where to begin when it comes to finding potential summer internships. Oftentimes, social and personality psychology departments may not be aware of what internships in industry are available for students, but looking online can be a good starting place. Check out websites of companies and organizations that be of interest and job-searching websites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or Indeed. Additionally, using one’s network can help identify potential options. There may be former graduate students affiliated with a department who have gone on to working full in industry after graduate. These people may be able to provide insight into whether their company has summer internships for graduate students. Social and personality psychology graduate students have a wide range of skills they’ve developed throughout graduate school that are applicable to many different fields outside of academia. Common fields for social and personality psychologists that offer internship experiences for students include user experience (UX) research, government work, and consulting. Many companies and organizations recruit for their summer internships throughout the fall, so it can serve interested students well to seek out positions during October and November.
The application process
Many internship programs have rolling applications (i.e., they evaluate applicants as they apply rather than all at once at the end of a time period). It still is important to look out for deadlines for applications, because these may vary by company. Perhaps the most essential component of an internship application involves submitting a resume. Notably, resumes are distinct from an academic CV. Whereas CVs tend to be several pages, resumes are typically only one page long. As a result, it is vital to be concise in describing one’s education, relevant work experiences, and skillset. The resume is a great way for an applicant to highlight how their experiences in graduate school and beyond qualify them for an industry internship even if they don’t have formal industry work experience yet. Applicants should read the job postings carefully and consider tailoring their resumes to showcase their most relevant skills and experiences for each internship application. Some internships may also require applicants to submit a cover letter or additional work samples, so applicants should review the requirements carefully.
After submitting an application, applicants who are considered to be strong candidates may be asked to interview for the position before a hiring decision can be made. Interviews can vary depending on the type of internship. Some positions may require multiple rounds of interviews where candidates demonstrate their qualitative or quantitative reasoning skills and/or share a sample presentation in addition to traditional interview questions. Again, it may be helpful to use one’s network or do some research online to learn more about the specific interview processes that are common in various industry settings. Learning more about what to expect in terms of interviews can help applicants feel more confident during the process.
Use SPSP as a resource!
While the process to finding an industry internship may seem overwhelming and ambiguous, there are many opportunities for social and personality psychology graduate students to dip their toes into non-academic jobs, and SPSP is here to help. For more information, check out SPSP’s Career Guidance page which contains more information about non-academic jobs more broadly including links to some informational videos about non-academic careers, links to several SPSP chats, the non-academic job market survey, and more!
SPSP also produced a webinar in 2019 designed to help attendees turn their CV into a resume. A recording of that discussion is available for SPSP members.