Students say these tips helped them get an internship despite stiff competition this summer

Landing a summer internship at a top-tier company is not an easy feat, and this year the competition is fiercer than ever. The number of internships offered on Handshake, a popular job and internship platform used by millions of college students, has decreased by 7% this year. The decline was most pronounced in industries like financial services, professional services, nonprofits, and tech, where the number of internships dropped by more than 13% compared to last year. Many of these sectors have faced significant headwinds over the past year, with major consulting firms tightening their belts and big tech companies undergoing mass layoffs. Internship programs have become a casualty of corporate cost-cutting, as they can be expensive to manage. 

Despite the challenges, students still view internships as the most reliable path to securing a full-time job, so the pressure to land one this year has been high. Applicants on Handshake submitted an average of 93 applications per internship, up from 53 last year. The surge was most pronounced in the tech industry, which saw an average of 247 applications per role compared to 134 last year.

Students who have successfully landed summer internships are advised to apply early. Adriana Rivera, a rising senior at MIT interning at Deutsche Bank, started applying in January 2023 - 18 months before her start date. She initially struggled, not hearing back from many companies and failing to advance past the first-round interviews. However, she re-evaluated her approach and realized she needed to go into interviews with a clearer sense of why she wanted the role and who she was as a person. 

Other students recommend networking as the best way to land an internship. Rachel Barker, a rising senior at Southern Methodist University interning at a real estate company, said she simply networked and went on coffee dates with people in the industry, which led her to great opportunities.

In summary, the competition for summer internships is fiercer than ever this year, but students can improve their chances by applying early and networking extensively to find the right fit. 

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