Summer internships may have already begun, but firms across various industries are continuing to hire in late May and June. For students still hoping to secure a summer internship, some key approaches can lead to these last-minute positions. 

The Varsity sat down with three U of T students engaged in ongoing summer internships to discuss their approaches to networking and landing offers in the late spring months.

Selectively targeting companies and roles 

At this slightly late point in the recruitment cycle, efficiency is crucial. Knowing which specific divisions in an industry you are interested in and qualify for, can help you narrow down the application process and tailor your résumé and cover letters. 

Sharly Das is a third-year global health specialist and nutritional science major at UTSG, interning at the pharmaceutical company Roche this summer. Unlike many other students in her program, Das knew she did not want to pursue a career in research or medicine. Instead, her interest in biotechnology and eagerness to learn more about project management in particular led her to apply to Roche.

By late spring, recruiters usually begin the application screening process. Hence, it’s important to be selective about which jobs you are applying for. You can stand out to employers at this time by strategically applying to jobs that you are both qualified for and genuinely interested in since passion shines through in résumés and cover letters. 

Applying in late spring also affords you more time to learn about the company you are applying to, interact with current employees, and tailor your résumé and cover letter to the position. 

For students with limited experience, one way to begin a job search is by targeting companies that prioritize employees’ soft skills and eagerness to learn over experience. Azeem Khalifa, a UTM finance specialist currently interning at CI Global Asset Management, took this approach. Khalifa specifically looked for entry-level roles with less stringent expectations for technical skills. These roles can allow students to highlight transferable skills gained from extracurricular activities, even if they don’t have industry experience. 

Industry connections go a long way 

Spring recruitment is just as much about putting yourself out there as it is about having a strong, tailored résumé and cover letter. U of T’s networking events and information sessions, such as the Next Steps Conference and Industry Spotlights constantly run year-round. Attending these events can give you a competitive advantage and expose you to long-term opportunities. 

When it comes to networking, “LinkedIn is your best friend,” said Avani Dubey, a marketing intern at Scotiabank and a management and economics specialist student at UTSC. Dubey consistently used LinkedIn to reach out to campus recruiters and current employees for coffee chats to get insights into the company culture. Though it can be intimidating to reach out to strangers, Dubey encourages her peers to remain persistent even when they do not receive responses right away. 

Beyond LinkedIn, Khalifa also suggests the traditional method of sending cold emails — unsolicited emails that are highly personalized — to hiring managers at the company you are applying for. In these emails, the key is to be direct but concise. For instance, if you are seeking a summer internship in late April, you could mention your internship search when requesting a coffee chat. This allows you to learn more about the internship program or specific roles that the recruiter oversees. Furthermore, to keep track of these coffee chats and internship applications, Khalifa suggests using an Excel tracker to stay organized. 

When sending cold emails, it can also be helpful to highlight any connections you may have with the recruiter or firm. Ask yourself if you are connected with the recruiter on LinkedIn and if you are engaging with the company, then share your relevant extracurricular activities. It can be more effective if the recruiter you are reaching out to is a U of T alumni or has a common point of interest with you. 

Next steps for moving forward 

On top of networking, on-campus resources can be beneficial for those hoping to polish résumés and cover letters before submitting applications. The Academic Advising and Career Centres across all three campuses offer these opportunities, alongside shadowing experiences and fireside chats with U of T alumni to learn more about various industries. It’s also helpful to sign up for job alerts on a company’s website, follow recruiters on LinkedIn, and create job alerts on hiring platforms with specific keywords and phrases related to the job. 

Above all, I believe it’s important to stay determined and curious throughout the application process at this late stage. As Dubey puts it, there is no such thing as a perfect candidate. Although your knowledge and technical abilities are important for your application, I believe personality and emotional intelligence remain the top priority for employers when applying in late spring.