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6 Deadly Mistakes I made when Looking for an Internship

If you are looking for an internship for the summer, you will want to avoid making these six deadly mistakes.


Internships are far more in demand than in past years and students have to face some pretty stiff competition when seeking a summer internships. By reviewing the following mistakes when applying for an internship, you can greatly increase your chances of getting called by the company for an interview.

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Common Mistakes to Avoid When Looking for an Internship

  • #1. Waiting Too Long To Apply

If you haven’t already started your internship search using this internship finder, what are you waiting for?

High school students, college students, and recent grads are all constantly looking for an internship to apply so get started today.

If you are applying for SIWES industrial training in Nigeria, start sending in your applications between four to six months to your commencement date. Download this guide for more specific months and email addresses to apply for each companies and organizations in Nigeria.

For overseas students, If you are applying for fall internships, start submitting your applications around June or July. If you are applying for a spring internship, you should be looking in October or November. And if you are looking for an internship in summer, you should start looking in October of the year prior (just to make sure the company you are interested in doesn’t have super early deadlines).

The bigger companies often have very early summer deadlines. Mid-sized companies usually have either February, March, or April deadlines. And there’s always a bunch of companies that forget to post their summer listing and end up doing their internship hiring in May or June.

  • #2. Sending in Generic Applications

The number one problem I see with internship applicants is sending in generic materials. The same resume and cover letter for every single position. (Some companies required you send in I.T letters from your school. But this shouldn’t stop you from submitting along side with your resume and cover letter.)

You must customize your application for the intern position and the company. If every resume and cover letter you send is the same, there’s a problem. Companies can easily tell when they are looking at a document that you’ve sent to 15 other places. To best customize your applications, print out the internship or job listing and go through it with a highlighter.

Download Free: Sample Job Winning CVs and Cover Letters You Can Use

Think of it this way, they are telling you exactly what should be on your resume or cover letter in the listing. For example, if the company says they want someone who is social media savvy, make sure your resume speaks to your social media experience.

  • #3. Applying for Only a Handful of Internships

I mentioned that internships are more competitive than ever before. If you only apply for a handful of opportunities, there’s a pretty good chance you will not land one.

To make sure you land something, apply for at least 10-20 internships every 2-3 weeks. If you hear back from a few and land interviews, you can stop aggressively applying. But remember you want to make sure you don’t put your eggs in one basket.

I spoke to a company (updated) some weeks ago that said last year they got 14,000 applications – it’s a tough market.

  • #4. Fail to Follow Company Instructions

If you can’t follow the application rules, how will you follow the actual rules at the internship? Your application is the first impression that you are giving an employer, if you aren’t following directions, that first impression won’t be very positive.

By not following a company’s specific instructions you could end up being placed in the “no” pile. Even if you possess all of the qualifications the company is looking for.

Make sure to read through their requested process closely. For example, they might post their internships on a third party website (like But they might state in their posting that applicants should go to their website to apply.

  • #5. Forget to Follow-Up with Employers

Once you start applying for internships, follow up one week after you send in your application to confirm the company received your credentials and to ask if they need to look at anything else. If you can’t find anyone to follow up with, use LinkedIn and try to connect with people who went to your school and work at that company.

See: How to Use LinkedIn for Job Search

  • #6. Not Passionate at the Interview or I.T Test

After an interview or a test, an employer shouldn’t have to ask him or herself if you wanted the position. Make sure you make it very clear that you want the position. And that you’d do anything you need to secure the position. An employer wants to hire someone who they know will love and appreciate the job, make sure that comes across  in the interview.

Also See: 5 Ways to Easily Secure your SIWES Placement

Over to you!

what mistakes have you made when looking for an internship? Share your thought in the comment let’s learn from your mistakes too.

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