Looking for a summer job? Create One
Finding a summer internship in today’s marketplace is not easy. Companies are, at best, being conservative in their hiring and looking to save money by eliminating standard internship programs. You should be following all the standard advice, pursuing every lead on every website, and engaging in plenty of networking. But will that deliver in this economy? I’m just not sure. So, I have another suggestion. Try creating your next job. Just make it up. First of all, why do you want a summer internship anyway? I would assume one or more of a few reasons: Pave the way for a full-time job; Get experience in a new function or industry or both; and/or Try out some of the skills you’ve learned in business school.
These are legitimate objectives. In this market, though, you’ll have to find creative ways to meet these objectives. Here’s a process for creating a summer job that will help you meet your long-term objectives: Set your mind on what you think you want to do upon graduation; Determine the “buyer’s needs” (those skills that your target employer will want you to be able to demonstrate and the experiences that your target employer will want you to have) for that job; Create and write a few “bullet points” that would be ideal on your resume to illustrate those buyer’s needs from above (this is the key step — think about what your potential employer would want to read on the resume of the perfect candidate). A few examples might be: o “Evaluated and recommended early stage investments opportunities, based on potential cash flows and segment analysis” o “Led sector review on Sustainable Energy industry, highlighting strategic growth areas and competitive positioning” o “Constructed detailed financial models on key acquisition targets, including recommendation for bid strategy” o “Developed marketing plan for roll out of new product, including sales strategy and product positioning” Now write a generic project proposal from the bullet points for an unknown company. This “proposal” is generic until you identify some companies, but it contains the type of work you think you can do that will add value for a company and accomplish your objectives. A few examples might be: You’ve just created your summer internship. But your work is not done. You’ve got to convince someone to let you do this project.
So, continue the process: Create a target list of small to medium-sized companies (25+) in a couple of locations where you can live free or inexpensively for the summer; Begin networking your way to these companies, finding alumni or friends of alumni, or undergraduate alumni in the companies; Once you know that you have the name of a decision maker, try to get the personal introduction and meet with the decision maker in person. This will allow you to show your passion for what you are recommending. Be prepared to pitch your idea from a one-page document. Include your proposal and what outcomes they will get from the project.
Obviously, large companies know what to do with MBAs and the value that MBAs can add to their organizations. But smaller companies may not know the value you can add. You have to help them understand. You probably have to be willing to do this for free. But the value you create for yourself by getting these bullet points on your resume will pay off in the full-time job search your second year.
Let me know how I can help.