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Winter break… You’re finally free from finals and excited to spend time with friends and family for the holidays. But, even though watching your favorite Christmas movies with a mug of hot cocoa sounds so relaxing, winter break is the perfect time of the year to get a head start in your summer internship search without the pressures of school looming over your head. Read on to learn more about 6 ways to make your internship search a lot easier for you.

1. Start early

And by that, I mean two things. Start looking for internships early in your college career and early in the school year. Don’t wait until your senior year to look for an internship; the earlier you start the better. Even if you are not looking for an internship freshman year, start by joining clubs and making connections. All of these things will come in handy later on. Also, don’t wait until March or April to start researching summer internships. Many companies start the hiring process five months before summer, as early as January, but many companies start even earlier, September or October of the previous year.

2. Perfect your resume and cover letter

Crafting an immaculate resume and cover letter is the first step in your internship search. Even if you don’t a lot of experience in your field, make sure to market yourself by showing the many qualities you have and how your classes, extracurricular activities, and achievements have prepared you for the internship. Keep your resume short (no more than one page long!) and relevant to the position you’re applying for. Remember your cover letter is not a summary of your resume, but a way to show your employer your interest in the position and that you will be good fit in the company.

3. Check out all the available resources

If you’re not sure where to start looking for possible internships, check out the job listings in your school’s career services website. There are many helpful sites out there, such as Intern Queen, InternMatch, and MyEdu (also great for planning out your school schedule). Even googling “summer 2015 internships in [your field]” is a great start. However, don’t limit yourself to positions posted online. It’s calculated than 80% of all jobs are never posted, and if there’s a company you really like and they don’t any open positions online, don’t be afraid of reaching out to them! If you’re a member of any academic clubs or organizations, especially those related to your major, make sure to look into that option, as well.

4. Don’t limit your search

Yeah, interning for a super well-known company sounds awesome, but keep in mind that a lot of people will be applying for it as well. An intern at a smaller company or at a start-up will probably have more responsibilities and will gain more experience than an intern in a huge or prestigious company. This does not mean that you should not apply for your dream internship at a prestigious company, but be sure to broaden your search.

5. Make sure your interviewing skills are top notch

Hopefully, after sending out your applications and resume, you will start to schedule interviews. But in order to get the job, you have to make a great impression on the interviewer, and that will probably not happen without a little practice. If your school offers mock interviews, make sure to schedule one. Another great resource is TheMuse Interviewing for a Job Section.

6. Attend a Career Fair

Career fairs are a great way to meet with representatives of many different companies at the same time while making connections. Be sure to do some research beforehand on the companies you’re interested about, and bring several copies of your resume. It’s also a great way to learn about companies you may not have heard about before, so don’t be afraid to ask about the company and what they do.

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the author

Clarissa Gallardo is a sophomore at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Originally from Panama City, Panama (only place in the world where you can see the sun rise in the Pacific and set on the Atlantic!), she is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Mathematics and Ballet. A member of the Honors Program and dancer at heart, you can find her studying at the library, scrolling through her Tumblr feed , dancing, or reading. Clarissa has a really bad case of wanderlust and is obsessed with white chocolate mochas, The Big Bang Theory, and Doctor Reid from Criminal Minds. You can follow her on Twitter and on Tumblr.

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