How Many Internships Should you Do in Engineering?

How many internships should I apply to

Everyone talks about the importance of doing internships in undergrad, but no one talks about what that exactly entails? How many internships should I apply to? When should I start applying to internships? How do I actually get an internship? These are all important questions that engineering students are left wondering.

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How many internships should I apply to?

You should apply to as many internships as you can without decreasing the quality of your applications. With engineering, getting internships is the best thing you can do for your career. Employers value internship experience over GPA and extracurriculars. That being said, you shouldn’t start failing your classes to make time for internship applications, but it’s okay to sacrifice a letter grade on an exam or two.

Most people apply to 10-50 internships before getting an offer. You might get lucky and get an interview and offer after only 5-10 applications. Some people apply to 50 and get maybe 3-4 interviews and 0-1 offers. It all depends on the companies you apply to and how strong of a candidate you are.

50 applications may sound like a lot, but if you break it down, it’s not too bad. The typical college semester is 15-17 weeks. If you made a goal to submit 3-4 applications a week, you could hit 50 applications by the end of fall semester. The more applications you submit, the faster you’ll get at it. The first few might take a while but once you get in the swing of things, it should take you no longer than 30 minutes to an hour per application. This includes filling out the online application, making slight changes to your resume based on the job requirements, and editing your cover letter if necessary.

No matter how qualified of an applicant you are, getting internships is always a number game to some degree. The more internships you apply to, the higher your odds of getting one.

When should I start applying to internships?

When you start your application process also affects your success in getting an internship. Generally speaking, you should start applying to internships as soon as they’re posted, which is usually in September.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can also prioritize your applications strategically. For example, larger companies tend to be more organized and post internship positions earlier, whereas smaller companies usually don’t even think about hiring interns until the spring. Therefore, it’s best to prioritize applications for larger companies in the fall and applications for smaller companies in the spring.

Read When to Apply For Summer Internships and How to Prioritize Your Applications for Best Results for a more detailed guide on prioritizing your applications for best results.

How do I get an internship?

So how do you get an internship? Getting an internship, especially your first one, can be difficult. Here are some general tips to help you get an internship:

  1. Don’t be picky – Any internship is good experience. Even if it’s not the exact role or industry you want, employers of any field will still value it. Even if you end up getting a less-than-ideal internship, you can always keep applying. Best case, you get a better offer and back out of your first offer (potentially burning the bridge with this company is the worst thing that would happen). Worst case, you don’t get anything else and you still have your back-up internship lined up.
  2. Attend in-person events – Attending in-person recruiting events is a great way to network and get an internship. These events include your school’s career fair and national career fairs.
  3. Go for smaller companies too – Don’t be afraid to look for internship opportunities at the small local companies near you. Smaller companies are less competitive and are still great learning opportunities. You can even reach out to them and ask if they have any internships positions available.
  4. Ask around – one of the best ways to get an internship is through people you know. Check out your school’s career counseling center. They occasionally have internships, especially from local companies that they could connect you with. You can also ask professors. Many professors have industry connections that they could potentially connect you with. You can even post on Facebook! You never know which of your mom’s friends happens to work at an engineering company.

For more tips on getting internships read How to Get an Engineering Internship: 10 Great Tips and 8 Ways to Get an Internship with No Experience.

Read More:

When to Apply For Summer Internships and How to Prioritize Your Applications for Best Results

How to Get an Engineering Internship: 10 Great Tips

8 Ways to Get an Internship with No Experience