I’ve been slacking in my blog posts this summer, I know, and I apologize for that. Time has been funny lately, with days turning into weeks int he blink of an eye. All of a sudden, I’m a little over a month away from going back to Hopkins, but summer feels like it just started.

Nevertheless, this is a post I’ve been meaning to make for a while, and hopefully one that will come in handy to all the people reading it that may be in a similar position. For the last seven weeks, I’ve been fortunate enough to work as an intern at a medical device company about ten minutes from my house. Hopefully, my next post will elaborate more on the nitty gritty of the work, but today I want to focus on something equally as important: how to get an internship.

Internships are incredibly elusive. Sure, the idea of sending in a resume and landing a job sounds easy; really, it’s anything but.

There’s no magic three step solution to landing an internship; in all honesty, a lot of it comes down to being plain lucky. However, there are a few sure fire ways you can increase your chances.

1. Know how to sell yourself.
Having the abilities and the grades is only half the battle when it comes to getting an internship. Everyone applying probably has good grades and something marketable. You need to be able to market yourself in a way that makes you an asset to the company you intend to work for. At the end of the day, the company will likely be doing you a service more so than they will be doing for themselves in the short term, but being able to sell yourself as an investment that will pay off in the long run will invariably get you a seat at their table.

2. Do your research.
Treat applying for an internship the same way you would studying for an exam. Research the companies you apply to. Figure out projects or devices that interest you and elaborate on those when applying. Show the person reading your application that you’re not just mass applying by copy-pasting, but that you legitimately took time out to apply and are interested in what the company has to offer.

3. Don’t be afraid to cold call and email.
This is probably the biggest piece of advice I can give. Research emails of people at the companies you want to intern for and email them. It’s important to maintain professional etiquette and stick to a “one email per company” policy until you receive a reply. Another thing I did was actually call the numbers listed on the company websites and ask if the receptionist could direct me to someone regarding internship opportunities. Combining step 1 and step 2 here, you have a solid chance of getting real results.

4. Don’t get discouraged.
At the end of the day, internships are elusive. Some people won’t email you back, others will say they have no internship opportunities available at this time. Don’t let this stop you from moving forward. It took me nearly all of the school year to find an internship, and even then I didn’t have it secured until the week before finals ended. Keep your chin up and keep moving forward. If you put these steps into practice, you’ll be ahead of the pack.