Applying to internships can be a long and stressful process… So where to start?

3 min read
HomeLearning HubApplying to internships can be a long and stressful process… So where to start?
Summer internships can be a competitive space and often applicants get periods of radio silence. This leaves students feeling a little anxious and wondering, “what’s next?” in the application process.
We asked Millie, who is a third year BComm student at University of Sydney about her experience applying for summer internships. Millie wanted to have internship experience up her sleeve in preparation for a graduate role in credit analysis after university. She shares her tips and experience to help future students going through the process.

How do you decide where to apply?

It is important to start looking at companies that you are interested in working for early in the year to map out when they begin their recruitment process. When I began looking for internships, I learned when the applications opened so that I did not miss the deadlines.
I found that the Big 4 consulting firms opened their applications first and closed these very early in the calendar year. This gave me a lot of time to prepare for the banks (Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Westpac etc.) who opened their applications in mid-August. Outside of the consulting firms and banks, I applied for many other internships, for companies such as Amazon and BoA.
Initially, I was completely unsure where to apply. I decided to apply for most summer internship opportunities that I found as I knew it was a competitive process. This was potentially a downfall as I spent a lot of time applying for jobs that I was not completely prepared or interested in, I just wanted to ensure that I had a role.
The most helpful website for finding internships that I found was GradConnection. This website recommended new roles and also saved my details so that when applying, I didn't need to input all details each time.
Top tip: Read the description and requirements of the internships, and then shortlist your favourites before applying. Internship applications can take a lot of time so don’t apply for the sake of just applying. And talk to friends, colleagues and university lecturers/tutors to see if they have connections to industry professionals who might have intel on internships and opportunities available.

How do you actually apply?

When applying for internships, the companies will request a range of information from you. This will include personal information, academic information and potentially cognitive and behavioural testing.
Most of the internship applications require the same information, I found that once I had collected the information and saved it together, it was a quick process to complete an application.
In addition to this, the applications will likely request your personal information and answers to questions similar to “Why do you want to work at ____?” or “Why do you want to join this team within ____?”.
When answering these questions, I ensured that I put time and thought into my responses, trying to make it as personal to the company I was applying to as possible. I used past experiences with the company as well as how my skill set would fit into the team when completing my responses.
After completing personal information, you are often requested for some documents. The commonly requested documents are:
  • Resume
  • Cover letter
  • Academic transcript
Top tip: Create a folder to have all your up-to-date documents clearly labelled and a document of all your questions and answers. Most of the companies will be requesting the same documentation and have similar questions – this can save you a lot of time!

Be prepared for online assessments

During this stage, you may also need to complete some online assessments. These can be psychometric testing (verbal or numerical reasoning) or a cultural fit test.
These assessments will assist the company in determining if you should progress to the next step of the hiring process. The assessments can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to complete and are used to determine if you are a good candidate for the position.
Top tip: Be prepared to sit down and commit to completing the online assessment as it can take up to an hour. Don’t start an assessment when rushing off somewhere or on the train – treat it like you’re sitting an exam, find a quiet environment so you can focus!
This wraps up Millie’s summer internship application process. We also spoke to her about the next stage - the interview stage which includes video submissions and assessment centres. Check out part two!

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