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How (not) to apply for internships

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It’s February! The lovely month of internship application deadlines that I never knew about! Luckily, I’ve learned a lot in the past two weeks or so about applying to internships. Here are 10 strategies that’ll definitely help you snag that summer job!

  1. Be a freshman. In many cases, companies want interns that they can hire in a year or two, aka juniors and seniors. They don’t really want someone who has only a year of university-level education under their belt and little to no applicable workplace experience. Therefore, there’s no better way to start your resume, cover letter, or internship application with that perfect “I am a freshman” intro!
  2. Don’t take a CS class. As much as Stanford claims to not be a STEM-oriented school, it’s pretty clear that knowing CS opens many more doors to internships through Stanford programs and general Silicon Valley-ness. So, of course, if you want to get an internship, taking absolutely no interest in CS is a great place to start.
  3. Have absolutely no idea what you want to do with your life. Okay, so if you’ve already ruled out CS internships at this point, that still leaves a variety of options open! Normally, people might apply to things that sound interesting, thinking that they could use the internship to figure out their likes and dislikes. Those people are far too logical. It’s much better to just refuse to apply for internships because they don’t sound like the magical perfect internship that will definitely fall into your lap tomorrow.
  4. Procrastinate. That deadline is a week away, you have time. Do some homework, watch some Netflix, don’t worry. Wait, it’s due in four days? It needs a recommendation too? Better find someone to email now. Oh, it’s due in 20 minutes? Well, it wasn’t an interesting internship anyway.
  5. Don’t talk to professors. A lot of internships ask for recommendations or contacts. By talking to a professor outside of class or going to their office hours, you can build up a relationship with them and ask for a recommendation later. You could also not do that and then send your professor (who is really cool but also very intimidating) a timid email asking for a recommendation.
  6. Plaster your resume with the things you did in high school. Internship programs want to see current, relevant skills and information on your resume, but if you haven’t done anything noteworthy since high school, the club you were a president of in the tenth grade is technically current. Make sure to reference that you got accepted into every college you applied to, so your future employers know that you’re humble and don’t hold on to irrelevant information.
  7. Build up absolutely no skills. Don’t learn Microsoft Office. Be monolingual. Never lead anything. Don’t cooperate with anyone. Don’t work in groups or collaborative environments. Employers are looking for skills like these, so avoid them like the plague.
  8. Don’t do anything outside of class. Don’t get a job. Don’t engage in activism. Don’t join a club or cultural organization. Don’t do anything that might hint that you have any passions. Pursuing your passions is a good way to signal your dedication to employers, so don’t do that.
  9. Don’t try in class. In fact, be sure to let your GPA tank. Your GPA is pretty much the only quantitative measure of your performance in college, so don’t even bother trying to keep it up.
  10. Give up. There’s definitely an internship out there for you, or maybe even just one that’ll give you some worthwhile experience, but don’t look for that. Don’t try anything new or pursue something you love. Don’t keep trying even if you get rejected.

Follow these 10 steps and you’ll be sure to get that perfect internship! Ignore everything and everyone that could possibly help you, and you’ll be just fine! Good luck!

 

Contact Kiara Harding at kiluha ‘at’ stanford.edu.