When to Start Applying for a Summer Internship

One of the most important ways to explore your career options and get hands-on job training while still in school is to engage in a summer internship. The key to landing the right internship is not only knowing what you’re interested in doing but also when you should apply. Since different industries have different timelines with structured career paths like finance, consulting and technology requiring internship applications to be submitted almost a year in advance, it’s important to know the timelines for different fields and what you should be doing each semester to ensure that you land the summer internship of your dreams.

Here is when you should begin applying for a summer internship.

What to do during the fall semester

As a general rule, if you’re looking for a summer internship you should start thinking about the process first semester of that year. It’s never too early to start the process, and the more time you give yourself, the less stressful the process will be. To begin, it’s important to reflect on the types of jobs you’re interested in. A great place to start this is to meet with people who are in the fields you’re interested in and ask them questions about what it’s really like to work in those fields.

Once you have a general sense of what jobs you’d like to focus on, research interesting companies online (via WayUp, social media, and the company’s own website) and attend networking events (i.e. corporate presentations, career fairs, networking nights) these companies are hosting. You should check-in with your career center for a calendar of all upcoming employer events. Many of these happen starting in September and October, so be sure to go to campus ready to start networking. You should also reach out to alumni or interesting employees at these companies – most are more than happy to answer any questions you have, and even set up informal coffee chats or informational interviews to help you prepare for the working world.

Most applications (ie when you actually submit your resume online) open anywhere from November-January. The company’s website and/or your career center portal will likely have those dates published months in advance, so you can schedule reminders and plan your time accordingly. This varies according to industry and company size. Large, well-established companies (Goldman Sachs, Google, PwC) will have very structured recruitment processes that will likely move very quickly (networking, applications and interviews will be wrapped up by January).

For less structured programs, or for small companies and startups, internship opportunities are likely to come up throughout the spring semester and even during the first few weeks of summer break.

What to do during the spring semester

Smaller, newer companies (startups, family-owned businesses) will likely have more lenient timelines and move a bit slower. Many of these companies do not have the resources to come to campuses for fairs or advertise their openings on the university portal, so you’ll need to do some extra legwork (research the company and their openings, reach out to a current employee to introduce yourself, etc) before applying. We recommend starting this during the first part of spring semester and planning for interviews running from March-May.

If you haven’t found anything by the middle of the spring semester, don’t worry. Instead, head to WayUp to look for internship opportunities in your chosen field. You can also book an appointment with your faculty advisor and/or campus career advisor to ask about existing college and university partnerships. There may be a small, local internship nobody has applied for yet.
To avoid stressing too much about early internship deadlines, think ahead. The most competitive internship programs may require you to prep a year in advance to give you ample time to comfortably complete your application. But even if spring semester is coming to a close, chances are that you’ll be able to find an internship that will meet your needs. And when you’re ready to apply, we’ve got lots of paid and unpaid internship opportunities that are just right for you.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Should I Intern As a College Freshman? and find answers to common interview questions such as Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

Should I Intern as a College Freshman?

If you’re interested in interning as a college freshman, it’s important to consider how this will affect the rest of your schedule. Whether you’re looking to give your resume a boost, or you’re hoping to make some money, there are lots of good reasons to take on an internship.

Your first year in college, particularly the first semester, is a period of discovery and a time for new experiences. From taking classes, making friends, participating in extracurricular activities, and adjusting to dorm life, there is already a lot on your plate. For some, interning makes more sense during the second semester, or the summer before sophomore year. For others, internships are altogether put off until the following year. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to a freshman year internship, it really comes down to your course load and personal preference.

Here are the pros and cons you should consider when deciding whether to intern as a freshman.

Pros of interning as a college freshman

  • Interning gives you a chance to experience a work environment without having to fully commit to it just yet.
  • An internship can lead to college credit, which means you may be able to graduate early and complete your requirements ahead of schedule.
  • The work experience can help you zero in on your preferences and give you a clearer picture of what you are looking for out of a career.
  • Interning and networking go hand in hand. You will meet a lot of people during your internship who can mentor you and help you land your dream job down the road.
  • An internship will introduce you to an office culture and gives you a glimpse into the dos and don’ts of that world.
  • Last but not least, an internship gives you a chance to potentially make money.

Cons of interning as a college freshman

  • An unpaid internship won’t be beneficial to students who are looking interested in interning for financial reasons.
  • If you are interning during the fall or spring semester, you will have to manage your course load at the same time. This can prove too stressful at times and your grades may suffer.
  • An attempt to get ahead of the game can actually backfire if your internship causes you to drop out of extracurricular activities and have less time to study.

If you are considering a paid or unpaid internship but you aren’t sure if it’s the right fit for you, you should reach out to your academic advisor and career counselor. Together, you two can walk through the advantages and disadvantages of a freshman year internship and determine if it’s a good fit for you.

If it does seem too overwhelming, it’s okay to put it off until you’re ready to do it, like during your sophomore or junior year. No matter when you choose to intern, there is so much to learn throughout your experience. By weighing the pros and cons, you’ll be able to make a decision that’s best for you.


Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Get the Job You Really Want and find answers to common interview questions such as What Are Your Salary Expectations?.

Should I Intern as a College Sophomore?

Internships are one of the most valuable ways for college students to gain professional experience and exposure to new industries. In fact, an internship can give you a significant leg up in a number of ways, including building your professional network and helping you develop new skills. If you’re entering your sophomore year, you may be wondering about the pros and cons of doing an internship while still an underclassman. For example, will you have time to balance a packed class schedule with a part-time job?

Here are some things to consider when deciding whether to intern as a college sophomore.

Identify what you want to learn.

Getting an internship solely as a resume booster isn’t bad, but it isn’t ideal. Internships are a fantastic way to get career clarity and exposure to industry networks, so having a goal in mind will help guide your search to a meaningful internship.

Maybe you have a burgeoning interest in PR, but you’re not sure if that’s what you want to do after college. Or perhaps you’re trying to decide if an office job is for you or if you want to dive into other creative pursuits. When you’re clear on what it is that you want to learn — about a company, industry, or about yourself — then it’s time to dive into the internship search.

Be honest about your other commitments.

In order to decide if interning as a sophomore is right for you, it’s essential to think about your time commitments and to be realistic about how much time you can devote to an internship. When doing this, be sure to take into account your coursework and extracurriculars as well as the additional time needed to study, exercise or hang out with friends. Once you have an idea of your availability, you’ll be able to make an informed decision without running the risk of overextending yourself.

Assess your financial situation.

One of the most important factors when determining whether to take on an internship is to assess your financial situation. For example, if you currently need extra income to support yourself during the semester (or the summer) then you should be focusing only on paid internships or part-time jobs. On the other hand, if you have financial support from other sources, then you might consider taking an unpaid internship if it will offer you great exposure or invaluable work experience.

Regardless of whether you decide to do an internship during your sophomore year, it’s important to remember that internships are meant to be opportunities for learning. Think about your circumstances, how you want to grow and what skills you want to build, and make a decision that seems right for you.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How Do I Get a Job in Another City or State? and find answers to common interview questions such as Tell Me About an Accomplishment That You’re Most Proud Of.

How to Dress for a Job Interview at a Bank

Whether you’re interviewing for a paid or unpaid internship or an entry-level job in banking, there are a few things you need to know about the dress code that will help you put your best foot forward.

Here’s what you should keep in mind when deciding what to wear.

1. Know what’s appropriate in the industry.

Many bank positions require you to interact with clients all day long, so you’ll want to make sure you maintain a professional look at all times. In general, the banking industry is known for its upscale, clean look. In the past, a three-piece suit was required. Nowadays, things are a bit more relaxed, so you’ll want to wear something that falls within the realm of business casual.

2. Pick a conservative outfit that fits your style.

Men should wear a dress shirt, slacks, dress shoes and properly matching accessories, such as a tie and belt. If you do decide to wear a suit or blazer, make sure that you choose one with dark, muted colors.

Women should stick with a suit — slacks or a skirt on bottom, a blouse and a blazer on top. A classic black dress will also work, and can, depending on the style, be paired with a colorful blazer. If you’re going to go the dress route, avoid anything without sleeves. Go light on jewelry since subtle details are best for interviews.

As far as colors go, neutrals are best. You can add a pop of color with accessories such as jewelry for women or a vivid tie for men. If you’re traveling far for your job interview, go with lightweight, breathable fabrics that don’t wrinkle easily.

3. When in doubt, ask questions.

Potential employers want you to excel in the interview, so asking the right questions is a great way to set yourself up for success. Don’t be afraid to ask the hiring manager (or the recruiter who set up your interview) what would be most appropriate to wear for your interview. This simple question will ensure that you start off on the right foot.

Pro Tip: Don’t skimp out when it comes to footwear. Believe it or not, people really notice them. Good-looking, polished shoes convey attention to detail, so be sure to wear your best pair.

By picking an outfit that’s appropriate for the interview and fits your style, you’ll be sure to impress the interviewer while being comfortable and confident.


Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Get an Entry-Level Job with No Experience and find answers to common interview questions such as How do I get an Internship?

10 Tips for the Perfect Cover Letter

If you’re applying for internships or entry-level jobs, you may be wondering how and when to write a cover letter. While many jobs no longer require cover letters (especially those on WayUp), in cases where a cover letter is required, writing a well-crafted letter can be a key part of landing an interview.

These 10 tips will help you write the perfect cover letter:

1. Start strong.

In addition to informing your reader what position you’re applying for, your first one or two sentences should identify the qualities and experience that make you a strong candidate for the position. If you don’t have relevant prior work experience, briefly describe how your coursework or extracurricular activities have provided you with the foundation you need to establish your career.

Say something like: “Please accept my application for the editorial assistant position. As an English major at and a fiction editor for the literary journal there, my knowledge of contemporary literature combined with the administrative experience I gained during a previous internship has prepared me to contribute to all aspects of the publishing process.”

Pro Tip: Find out the name of the hiring manager and address the letter directly to them. If you’re not able to find a direct contact then address the letter to the department you’re applying to.

2. Keep it short.

Take the space you need to specify what you have to offer an organization, but don’t go overboard. There’s no need to go beyond a page, and your letter should consist of three or four brief paragraphs at most. A concise — and compelling — cover letter is your first chance to demonstrate that you can communicate effectively.

3. Language matters.

While your cover letter shouldn’t read as though you cut and pasted the job description, it should mirror the language used to describe the skills and qualities required for the position. Hiring managers and the algorithms that are increasingly being used to parse job applications are looking for particular keywords, so make sure to use them.

For example, if the job description outlines skills x, y and z as being required for the position, make sure you use the same language when you’re highlighting your skill set and experience.

4. Know your audience.

Remember that you are writing for a prospective employer, not your best friend or a family member. The language you use when you fire off a quick email or text is not appropriate for a cover letter. It’s ok to be conversational in tone, but you don’t want to be too casual. You also don’t want to be overly formal. Try and strike the right balance between personable and professional.

5. Customize the content.

You may be wondering if you need to write a different cover letter for each job you apply for. The answer is yes. While there’s a general formula for how your cover letter should look — introductory paragraph, one or two paragraphs explaining what you have to offer the organization, and the conclusion — each company has its own culture, which should be reflected in your content. You wouldn’t send the same cover letter for a job at a startup providing services for millennials as you would to an established investment firm serving retirees.

Pro Tip: Customizing your cover letter is actually not as hard as it sounds. Once you have one or two templates you’re comfortable with, you’ll be able to customize each letter fairly easily by swapping out certain key phrases and company-specific information.

6. Make it new.

Don’t simply restate what’s already listed on your resume. The cover letter is your opportunity to meaningfully expand on that information and give your potential manager insight into the kind of employee you will be. Relate specific anecdotes or statistics that highlight your qualifications and strengths.

7. Avoid clichés.

If you describe yourself as an “out-of-the-box” thinker, the hiring manager likely won’t believe it. That’s because the phrase itself has become so overused that it no longer suggests creativity or originality. Instead of relying on hackneyed language to describe yourself, take the time to relate an instance where you posed a creative solution to a problem you faced. Just make sure it’s relevant to the position you’re applying for, or that it reveals qualities that position you as a good fit for the company. In other words, at the risk of sounding clichéd, “Show, don’t tell.”

8. Make it about them.

Don’t make the mistake of expressing what a particular company can offer you instead of what you can offer the company. Would-be employers aren’t so interested in how much you’ll learn on the job, or that the position is the stepping stone you need to make it in a particular industry (even if that may very well be true). They want to know how you’ll contribute to the organization, so make sure the focus of your letter remains on how great you are, not the company.

9. Follow instructions.

Before you send off your materials, reread the job ad. Does it require additional materials, such as a link to a portfolio, writing samples, or recommendations on your LinkedIn profile? If you don’t follow the application instructions, hiring managers may be left with the impression that you are unable to do what is asked of you. Missing materials, late deadlines or cover letters that exceed one page are easy ways for potential employers to eliminate applicants. Make sure you aren’t one of them by following instructions.

10. Sweat the small stuff.

There’s no room for error when it comes to your job application materials. After you’ve finished a draft of your letter, give yourself some time away from it and come back with fresh eyes to revise and edit. Read it out loud to yourself to catch missing words and awkward phrasing, and have someone else proofread it.

As daunting as they may be to write, cover letters are an opportunity for you to let your potential employer get to know you. These tips will ensure you leave a lasting and favorable impression as you begin applying for positions. And once you land that first internship or entry-level job, you’ll have more material to work with for future cover letters.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 6 Things to Do in Your First Week at a New Job and find answers to common interview questions such as Are You Willing to Travel?

GPA vs. Intangibles: What Really Matters

Is the common thought of needing a 4.0 grade point average to be hired at a top company true? At the WayUp Internship Google+ Hangout, we asked hiring managers from Google and Ashoka how much a GPA matters versus what really matters when applying to an internship.

GPA vs Intangibles: What really matters? Video Transcription

Nathan Parcells, CMO, Looksharp:

A student from UCLA named Jessica was wondering how much does GPA matter in the application process.

Cosmo Fujiyama, Search Team, Ashoka:

That’s interesting. Actually, interesting because I haven’t thought about that. I would rather look at the PSA instead of the GPA, which is the problem solving ability.

My new term for thinking about what’s relevant and what’s translatable because these metrics unfortunately don’t apply in real life, outside of the university system.

Jessica Safir, University Programs Coordinator, Google:

When you’re a student, that’s your full time job, is being a student, so we expect that you take academics seriously and that you’re doing well in your classes and one thing we do, you know, when you apply we ask that you upload your transcripts so we can see your grades so we do take it into consideration but it’s not sort of this end all be all.

Cosmo Fujiyama, Search Team, Ashoka:

Don’t worry about that C+ in Chemistry. Been there.

Jessica Safir, University Programs Coordinator, Google:

Because we don’t stop at your resume where it says education, and then stop looking.

Jeff Moore, Lead Engineering Recruiter, Google:

You know, if your resume is no internships, no external projects or interests, name, school, GPA, it’s going to be taken really seriously ’cause it’s all we’ve got. But if you’ve got this well-rounded background where you’re doing lots of different things and that’s gonna weigh more heavily than the GPA is. And so I think that’s a really important piece to it, as well.

Hayley Darden, Search Team Leader, Ashoka:

I think excellence is really important and if it doesn’t show up somewhere in your experience and on your resume as something that you value, you know, we notice that. We notice overall excellence. We notice caliber. We notice those things for sure. But I would also say that someone who’s been pursuing outside experiences has been involved and has clearly valued excellence and delivered at that kind you know, level consistently, that’s part of their narrative.

I wouldn’t be troubled by a lower GPA.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Internship? and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?

How Do Employers Evaluate Resumes?

There are few things as important to a job search as writing a resume. You’re tasked with creating a concise document that captures your entire essence in order to grab an awesome opportunity. As you squeeze years of achievements and memories into a few bullet points, it’s not only important that you’re happy with how it reads, but that your audience likes it. And for the best odds of your audience—your future manager—enjoying your resume, it helps to know how they will read through it.

Here are some of the most common things they look for.

They look at your education

Even though your major and GPA don’t define who you are, these are likely the first stop on an employer’s journey through your resume. It’s a good jumping-off point for them to understand the topics you find interesting and gain a sense of how committed you are to your education and your future success. An employer will walk away from this section wanting to know:

  •      That you meet their GPA expectation
  •      That you’re studying something interesting and relevant to the job
  •      What school you go to (possibly several if you studied abroad)

They scan your experience for brand names and key stats

When looking at your previous work or internship experience, there are generally 2 key trends an employer will seek out: relevance and impact. A great way to show that you have relevant experience is through brand names. If an employer is looking to hire you for a media job, for example, and sees that you worked for a major TV network, that’s a great start to your application.

If your past companies aren’t famous or recognizable, don’t worry — the work you did can still be relevant, and the impact is key no matter the role. This is where statistics come in: always use numbers to describe what you did and quantify the impact. If you’re scanning a resume with roughly 400 words and suddenly the number 80% pops up, chances are you’ll notice it right away, and so will your employer.

They look for unique skills and hobbies

Hobbies and skills are treated very differently across industries, but no matter the volume, each fun fact adds a lot of personality to your resume. An employer may read 100 resumes in a day, and even if they gave yours a good score and positive feedback, they are likely to remember you more for citing your mastery of guacamole making than for simply being a good fit. Keep these items detailed and unique to you—many can say they like “travel” but not everyone lists “spontaneous trans-Pacific travel.”

For skills, each entry not only completes your profile but is also a new search keyword. On WayUp, employers are most commonly using search tools to find specific experience or skills. So if there’s a programming language you know, show it! The same goes for other things like being proficient in Photoshop or having an in-depth knowledge of social media platforms.

They’ll walk away with highlights and a few notes

Resume-readers love to take a pen or pencil and mark up your resume, circling those juicy numbers described above or writing down questions for follow-ups. Realistically, the final notes they produce will be 1-3 bullets. This should lead you to ask: Did each piece of my resume tell the reader something new? For example, say you worked in 3 restaurants, so you try to be thorough and give each its own header, dates and bullet points showing your responsibilities and impact. This could take up half of your resume and all an employer will walk away with is “has server experience.” Push yourself to condense items that tell the same story, and to expound upon experience that shares something new.

Even with all these best resume practices, each employer is a different person. The same exact resume in different hands might get reviewed differently. A common system for reliable decision making is for a company to have each reader give notes on a five-point scale (from “definitely hire” to “definitely don’t”). You can’t pick your resume reader but never forget that the journey begins with submitting your application.

At the end of the day, you’re the one telling your story. So be proud of your resume and tell it like it is, but know that targeting it to your audience will dramatically improve your odds of matching with a great opportunity. Ready to create your own? WayUp’s user profiles act as digital resumes, making it easy to put your best foot forward with employers.


Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Set Internship or Job Goals and find answers to common interview questions such as How Have You Displayed Leadership?.

How to Answer: What Are Your Hobbies?

Hiring managers ask these common interview questions such as “What are your hobbies?” to gauge whether a candidate is a good cultural fit for a role, a characteristic that can help someone stand out above others with similar professional backgrounds. This is especially helpful when you’re trying to land an entry-level job or a paid or unpaid internship, since you may not have a lot of experience yet. The interviewer wants to know that you’re the kind of person other team members will enjoy working with.

Consider this a great opportunity to humanize yourself and show that you’re an interesting person to work with. Best of all, nailing this question will help you leave a lasting impression on your interviewer.

Hobbies to bring up in a job interview

Pick something you’re passionate about. Your answer to this common interview question is the perfect time to show off who you really are. You should be talking about something that you actually enjoy doing. What brings you joy and gives you energy? Reading? Biking? Gardening? Talk about that.

Pick appropriate hobbies

That said, when deciding on a hobby that you’d like to share, think about how that hobby could affect your work performance. When thinking about which hobbies to mention, it should go without saying that answers like “going to all-night raves” or “spending money playing online poker” aren’t going to paint you in the best light—so avoid anything that could be frowned upon or viewed as something that could affect your performance at work, like drinking or gambling.

Think of uncommon ways to talk about popular hobbies

Try not to be overly generic in choosing responses like “listening to music” or “going to the gym.” Sure, they may mean something to you, but this is a time where you can potentially make a lasting impression. If you’re into seeing live music, that is a concrete response—leverage your skills, talk about the work that you put into it. An employer will likely respond well to this sort of hobby, and may see you as more intelligent and hardworking.

If going to the gym is important, give some examples of how hard you work at your fitness goals—and the fun you have doing it. Better yet, if you’re on a sports team, share this information with your future employer, as it shows that you’re a team player and have solid people skills.

Bring Your People Skills to a Job Interview

If your hobbies include a community activity or group, this is definitely something you’ll want to share during a job interview. If you’re the head coach of a local baseball team, tell your future employer. A hobby like this requires planning, leadership and confidence, among other positive qualities. If you’re in a junior league or women’s club, explain what you do and how your mission is to give back to your community. Whatever hobby you choose to highlight during your job interview, remember to focus on the positive qualities you must possess in order to be successful.

Say something like: “I love playing tennis and I was captain of my of my varsity team in high school. I’ve been playing on my school’s intramural team throughout my time in college and it’s been a great way to make friends and get involved in campus activities. Tennis has been a big part of my life for years and I plan to continue playing after I graduate.”

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 5 Tips for Getting an Entry-Level Job Unrelated to Your Major and find answers to common interview questions such as How Have You Displayed Leadership?