How to Apply for Summer Internships as an International Student
Finding internships in your profession, understanding the best procedures for submitting your application, and managing visa requirements all help you land a competitive summer internship.
Getting a summer internship in the United States as an international student is a fantastic opportunity to obtain experience in your field. A summer internship can help you develop in-demand skills while also allowing you to better understand which types of occupations you are interested in. You may be able to determine which professions or industries you would like to work in based on your internship experience, as well as which ones are not a good fit. Plus, once you've completed your internship, you'll be able to add the position to your résumé, making you a more attractive prospect for full-time jobs following graduation.
Summer internships in the United States, on the other hand, are very competitive. Many firms begin seeking and hiring for summer internships in the autumn. That means employers will most likely be seeking interns in the fall of 2022 for summer internships in 2023.
You've "missed the majority of the wave" if you wait until April to hunt for a summer internship. However, "businesses are always hiring." The most important thing to remember is to begin your search as soon as possible.
International students have additional needs to consider. To ensure your success, you must first determine whether your visa qualifies you for specific internships, what to look for in an internship (apart from visa considerations), and how to apply. (Spoiler alert: it's not as simple as clicking "quick apply" on LinkedIn!)
Summer Internship Visa Considerations
In the United States, there are tens of millions of firms, but only a small percentage of them have the resources to hire international students as interns. Some businesses can only hire people who are citizens of the United States. This information can help you narrow down your list of companies. You should limit your internship search to companies where you want to work and where you are legally able to work.
There have been companies that have hired and funded international students in the past. Researching employers and narrowing your search using a site like MyVisaJobs. You can look for jobs by industry, employer, job title, or any combination of these.
The majority of US businesses are unaware of the labor authorization regulations. "You must know the process so well that you can explain it to the company, that it is critical that prospective employers understand that a student on CPT or OPT participating in the internship process will cost them nothing except salary for paid internships.
Curricular Practical Training, or CPT, allows students with an F-1 visa to conduct an internship while on work permission. Your internship must be connected to your degree and you must have completed at least two full-time semesters to be eligible for CPT. You can apply for Optional Practical Training, or OPT, after you finish your degree. This lets you work in the United States for up to 12 months, with a two-year extension for STEM grads.
"Sometimes, recruiters or hiring managers are unaware of all the requirements for CPT and believe it takes the same amount of time as an H-1B petition. So expect pushback, but it could simply be because the employer is unaware.
Referring to the H-1B petition, which permits firms to hire international employees on a temporary basis but comes with expenses. CPT and OPT, on the other hand, are considerably easier to obtain than companies may believe.
At a career fair, you never know who will be in front of you. They may have a policy that says 'we don't hire overseas students,' but see whether they've ever supported students. If you remark politely, 'I see you've previously sponsored international students,' they might take your resume.
Students must be well-informed and in charge of the conversation. It may be the employer's policy, but it is not the law, and they may be ready to deviate from it if they like a candidate.
Where To Look For A Summer Internship
You want to locate industries, companies, and opportunities that look like a good fit before you start applying for internships.
If you're interested in a variety of career options and think an internship would help you narrow down what you want to do after graduation, get involved as much as possible. Take on projects or study. Gain experience in a variety of functional areas in your field to get a sense of what you might want to focus on more.
Doing some research ahead of time to locate companies with values that are similar to your own. Values are an excellent starting point for determining whether or not a company is a suitable fit for you. Understanding the mission and goals of a firm assists you to avoid organizations that, while they may have the ideal position for you, are not the right fit for you in the long run.
Students must examine the company's LinkedIn page, website, in order to perform extensive research. "Notice what tugs at your heartstrings or makes you say, 'Wow, it's cool they're doing that!' or 'I want to do that!' when you're reading.
Informational interviews are the next phase. Identify graduates who are currently serving in positions that you believe you might enjoy. Reach out to them on LinkedIn to see if they'd be prepared to talk about how they got to where they are now and what advice they have for you. This type of informational interview could even lead to an internship.
Finally, concentrating on three crucial criteria for any job:
What is the function? Examine the various degree options available to you. Which ones pique your attention the most?
What is the address? Searching for a certain job in the Occupational Outlook Handbook and then going to the "state & region statistics" tab to see where occupations are concentrated by concentration.
What is the nature of the business? Who are you catering to — who are your clients, and what is your target market?
Best Practices For Summer Internship Applications
Students frequently believe that if they hunt for an internship online and apply online, they would have a good chance of getting the internship. However, that is the most difficult way to get an internship.
You want to "speak to humans" when applying for an internship. The majority of internships are not advertised online, and even those that are may be granted to a candidate who spoke with a recruiter at a career fair or who spoke with a firm alumnus.
Students should attend career fairs to speak with recruiters and companies in person. Aany university employment board or Handshake, a job posting software platform used by most colleges and universities to link students with potential employers. Connect with students from other schools who have worked at the organization.
Finally, connect with people you already know on LinkedIn and ask them to introduce you to their contacts. Alternatively, you might hunt for graduates from your school who are already employed by the company of your choice. Make contact with them to see if you can arrange for informational interviews with them.
If you're invited to an interview, learn how to communicate about your qualifications in a question-and-answer format. "You need to be able to articulate why you are a good fit for the firm and your special interest in it.
"Practice makes perfect," Stressing that it's never too early to start creating your résumé, writing cover letters, conducting company research, and practicing for interviews.
The following are some of the questions students must prepare for:
Why are you doing this internship?
Why did you choose this firm?
In five years, where do you see yourself?
What kind of benefit might an internship like this have on your future career?
What are your advantages and disadvantages?
Tell me about a moment when you had a challenging teammate or boss, and how you dealt with it.
"Turn each paragraph of the job description into a question and be able to answer that question.
Start thinking about how you can talk about yourself right now, and practise answering in a conversational rather than scripted manner.
Also be sensitive to cultural differences. "It's not bragging to talk about yourself, your plans, and your strengths. It demonstrates to the employer what your objectives are. "However, talking about oneself can be really unsettling,
Students must improve their eye contact with their interviewer. "Look at the forehead between their eyes to feel comfortable while also appearing to be looking someone in the eye.
Career Premium Virtual Internships
International students will benefit from Career Premium, a virtual internship programme. The programme will assist you in applying for eight-week remote internships at leading US firms. This allows you to obtain useful experience without deducting time from your CPT or OPT.
Before your internship begins, Career Premium begins with professional training. You'll get coaching and mentoring from experts in your field along the way. You then put your abilities to work on real-world projects, which gives you the experience you need to find a job.
It's a numbers game whether they choose a virtual internship, an in-person internship, or both. As a result, depending on the business, be prepared to send customized resumes and cover letters to dozens of organizations. Applying to one or two organizations and getting an interview is incredibly rare.
Emphasize the necessity of applying for jobs even if you believe you only satisfy 80% of the requirements listed in the job posting.
Students constantly tell themselves “no”. Never say no to yourself.
You set yourself up to reap the benefits of an amazing internship experience if you are willing to put in the effort at the start of the process and seek avenues that may take you outside of your comfort zone.
Are you looking for an internship in the United States? You probably have a lot of questions! Well, we have a lot of answers for you—and they are all one click away. So don’t wait up, get in touch today with ITPathFinder and get answers to all your questions.