Internships are the surest path to a full-time job. Here's what you need to know.

By Levels.fyi Team

July 25, 2020

The next few semesters of college are going to be different. Like many other students, you can use this opportunity to find a great internship for Fall and Winter to get paid instead of going to school. We're here to help you find great programs to have a successful Fall, Winter, and Summer.

A successful internship can result in a return internship or full-time offer for upcoming graduates. At some companies, conversion rates exceed 70%. We've summarized the key insights you'll need to secure an internship and get a full-time offer below.

Timing

Begin applying to Summer internships by July of the previous year. At the latest, apply to your top choices by October. Many will have filled up their intern quota by December. You can always apply to open opportunities and startups later in the new year. Typically these are last minute positions or startups without formal programs.

For smaller companies without a formal program, try cold emailing an employee or recruiter with your resume and why you're passionate about the company. Even if nothing comes of it, the conversation may come in handy when looking for full-time opportunities. If you need help finding emails, ping us through the chat below and we'll try to help you out as best we can. Check out this Facebook group for some leads and tips.

Prepare

Internship interviews are typically heavily focused on raw skills. For software internships, this means coding ability. Practice solving coding problems. Try using Leetcode, InterviewBit, HackerRank, Cracking the Coding Interview, etc. Side projects demonstrate raw skills and are a great way to make your resume stand out.

Although you may not always have a choice, communicate the components or systems you're most passionate about. Internship assignments can vary significantly across teams / companies and managers are often willing to give interns experimental, interesting projects. Although we list salaries, internships are for learning and generally salary should not be the deciding factor.

Succeed

Your mentor will have the most frequent contact with you. Managers typically rely on mentors to decide whether a return offer will be given. Chat regularly with your mentor and provide substantial project updates frequently (ex. once a day). Participate in team discussions and take interest in other projects your team is working on. Make it easy for your manager / mentor to vouch for you by delivering projects ahead of schedule and going above and beyond. At the end of your internship, you may be asked to present your project to the team. Ensure you're preparing for this presentation by gathering presentable material throughout your internship.