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Fall Internships: When To Apply and How To Craft an Effective Application

by | Apr 1, 2021 | Internships

Most students know about summer intern opportunities, but these aren’t always a good fit for everyone. Some students may need to work summer jobs to afford tuition and don’t have time to take on an unpaid internship. Other students like to take the summer off to recharge and get ready for the next school year. If a summer internship isn’t ideal for you, think about completing a fall internship instead.

Here, we’ll show you everything you need to know about fall internships. We’ll go over the basics and tell you when to apply for fall internships. Plus, you’ll find tips to create a successful application and discover resources to find the latest opportunities.

What You Need To Know About Fall Internships

Fall internship group in a meeting

A fall internship is a work program that takes place in autumn. Most fall internships are geared towards recent graduates or current college students. There are fall internship opportunities for high school students, undergraduate students, and graduate students.

These fall opportunities can be either full-time or part-time. If you land a part-time fall internship, the company will work around your school schedule. You may work mornings, afternoons, or evenings or on different days of the week, depending on the timing of the classes you’re taking. In some cases, your school may also offer college credit for the completion of a fall internship, making it easier to manage your workload.

Since fall internships can run concurrently with coursework, it’s important to manage your time if you land one of these gigs. You’ll need to be able to prioritize your time and be willing to speak up if your obligations become overwhelming.

Fall internships can be either paid or unpaid. In most cases, unpaid internships involve some form of academic credit. Others may offer a small monthly stipend or benefits for fall interns in exchange for their time. Paid internships may be paid hourly, monthly, or on a program basis depending on the company.

Many companies — like Tesla and Slack — offer fall internship positions in locations across the United States. You’ll find these programs in places like Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and New York. It’s not just huge international companies either. Many small businesses, boutique firms, nonprofits, and international organizations like the United Nations offer fall internships for students and recent grads in cities large and small.

When To Apply for Fall Internships

Student chatting with friend in class

Most fall internships have a start date between late August and early October. The internship application deadline can vary from program to program. However, most programs open fall internship applications in late spring. That means you should start applying to fall internships in late April through June. Some competitive internship programs may have early deadlines and then close the application if there is high demand. That means you need to apply quickly to avoid missing out.

The best way to ensure you don’t miss an opportunity is to apply as early as possible. Identify companies that offer internships you’re interested in. Find out when they opened fall internship opportunities in previous years. You can do this by reaching out to recruiters or searching through old job postings.

Another way to ensure you apply on time is to sign up for job search notifications from companies you’re interested in. Most large companies will have a talent community that you can join to be notified when fall internships become available. As spring rolls around, be sure to check your email regularly for these notifications.

How To Create a Successful Application

Man in lab coat standing in office with co-workers looking brain scans in background

The main goal when applying to any internship — whether it’s a fall internship, summer internship, or winter/spring internship — is to show the hiring manager why you’re the best fit for the position. That means you’ll need to craft a resume and cover letter that highlights your strengths. In some cases, you’ll also need to prepare for an interview or pass assessments to land the gig. While the process may vary, there are several things you can do to ensure your application is successful.

Ensure Eligibility

First, make sure you fit the eligibility requirements for the internship position. Check to see if the job posting lists any degree, course, or minimum GPA requirements. Most internships require studies in a particular major or a related field. Read the posting carefully and only apply to roles where you meet the qualifications and requirements. 

You’ll also want to closely examine the desired skills. For example, if you’re applying for a digital media internship, you may need to have social media or design skills. Identify what the recruiter is looking for and make sure to include these skills on your resume. Use bullet points or bold the words to make them easier to see when the recruiter skims your internship application.

Do Your Research

Do some research on the company. Find out what the company values and what its main goals are. You can even take a look at their competitors and identify any areas the company can improve on. This information can be incredibly helpful when answering situational interview questions.

Once you’ve identified some company values, you can use similar words in your cover letter and application. You can also demonstrate your shared values by incorporating them into your interview answers. For example, if the company values communication and collaboration, you can share a work experience where you worked effectively as part of a team to solve a difficult challenge.

Conduct Outreach

One way to stand out during the internship application process is to make direct contact with the hiring manager. You can do this by reaching out on professional sites like LinkedIn or by attending career events. Introduce yourself and explain what your goal is — to get an internship in a particular department, for example. 

Explain briefly why you’re a good fit for the role and let the recruiter know how they can help you. That means you may want to ask about what the day-to-day program looks like or what previous interns took away from the program. Asking specific questions lets the recruiter know what you’re looking for in an internship program and it also demonstrates your passion and interest in the role.

It’s also a good idea to attend as many career fairs as possible. Make a list of the companies or internship programs you’re interested in. Next, visit the company websites or reach out to a recruiter to find out when and where they’re hosting recruiting events. You can also check with your campus careers department to learn about any upcoming on-campus events. 

Attend the events and take time to chat with the recruiter. Show your interest by asking informed questions and get clarification on the ins and outs of the program. If you attend multiple events, the hiring managers will start to recognize you and see how dedicated you are to landing the gig.

Be Direct and Concise

Whether you’re writing your resume or preparing answers for an interview, it’s important to be direct. Avoid over-the-top descriptions or droning on and on about a particular subject. On your resume, use bullet points and active verbs to show your past work or learning experience. Quantify any accomplishments to add context and use bolding when needed to emphasize certain skills. 

For example, don’t say, “Experience developing mobile apps.” Instead, try something like, “Developed 3 mobile applications aimed at the gaming industry.” Another example of quantifying experience is saying, “Managed $5,000 in sales per month” or “Handled 8 accounts worth $3 million.” Use numbers and concise details whenever possible as they can help recruiters understand the depth of your knowledge and experience.

In interviews, take a few moments to think through an answer before responding. This gives you time to gather your thoughts and quickly put together a persuasive answer. Educate yourself on common interview questions and practice your answers before the big day. You can practice using a mirror or work with a friend or family member to simulate the interview experience. This is also a great way to get feedback and improve your responses. 

The Importance of Internship Programs

Four women talking around a computer monitor

It’s no secret that internships are incredibly valuable experiences. In fact, the value of an internship includes personal growth and development as well as improved career prospects. During a fall internship, you can network with other interns and professionals. You can then leverage these relationships to find new opportunities or get your foot in the door at your dream job.

An internship experience isn’t just a gateway to landing a full-time job. It’s an incredible learning experience that helps you build new skills and develop valuable relationships. You’ll work on real-life projects and develop problem-solving skills and communication techniques that you’ll use your entire career. Internships also provide a chance to put classroom knowledge to the test in a real work environment. 

Looking for a rewarding internship? Join our community to get access to the latest news and internship openings at your favorite companies. Whether you want to work at a Big Four firm or a smaller boutique agency, you’ll find an internship opportunity that fits your needs. 

Want more help crafting the perfect application or navigating the internship experience? Check out our blog and podcast. You’ll find advice on applying to internships in various industries and discover insider advice from hiring managers at the top companies. 

About Scholars

Scholars helps companies build engaging candidate experiences at scale. Create personalized journeys for all of your candidates from application through onboarding.

About Scholars

Internships and early-career jobs are unlike any others. They are often accepted months, if not years, in advance of the start date leaving plenty of time for candidates to change their minds and decide to work elsewhere, costing your team time and money.

There are two ways that have been proven to decrease renege rates for any company: keeping candidates engaged by sharing personalized information and helping them make connections with their future teammates. Companies use Scholars to accomplish both of these at scale.