How to Stay Motivated when Applying to Internships

By Amanda Cohen on January 14, 2018

Applying to internships is an exhausting process (both mentally and physically). Because of this, people oftentimes have issues staying motivated and staying on top of their applications. The fear of not getting an internship and the fact that applications tend to take a long time causes students to lose motivation and then stress at the last minute because of their lack of motivation. Well, I am here to tell you that there is a better way! I’ve been through the whole internship application process and am currently going through a similar process in finding a full-time job after I graduate, so I promise you that my tips are helpful and doable! Keep on reading if you want to ensure that you stay on top of your internship application process!

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The best piece of advice I can give to those of you applying to internships is to create a schedule and to stick to it. In order to stick to a schedule, it needs to be realistic… for example, you can’t have 20+ difficult and time-consuming tasks to complete in one day on top of your academic and social schedules. When creating your schedules/to-do lists, make it in accordance with your class schedule that day.

If you have four classes in one day, schedule two or three difficult tasks for that day or five to ten easy tasks for that day. If you have two or one class in one day, use that time wisely and try to complete ten or more internship-related tasks that day. I know this schedule may seem somewhat vague at the moment, but I promise you I will go into greater specifics later on in this article. The main point of this paragraph-long spiel is to ensure that you allot your time wisely in accordance with your academic and social schedules.

When applying to internships, there are a few types of tasks that go along with the entire process—writing a resume, writing a cover letter template, writing individual cover letters for each job applications utilizing said template, updating your LinkedIn profile (or creating one), searching and saving job listings, prepping for interviews, reaching out to connections, attending career fairs, and, last but most important, submitting an actual internship application. Always begin your process by writing a solid resume and a cover letter template that can be adapted and individualized to each application; this can usually be done in one day, so do this on a day where you have little or no class.

Be sure to proofread your resume and cover letter and have at least two other trustworthy and unbiased people read your resume and cover letter. Listen to their advice, but don’t deviate from what you think is truly best. Creating and writing a resume and cover letter is an activity that should always occur on a day in which you have a lot of free time… you don’t want to stop and start this process over a series of days because it can get confusing.

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Tasks like updating your LinkedIn profile and searching for job listings, are tasks that can be done on busy days because the bulk of this work is going through the mechanics. When updating your LinkedIn, you are essentially copying and pasting your already-made resume into your profile and searching for people to connect with. This process is something that is usually unaffected with a lot of stopping and starting. You might think I’m crazy for saying that finding job listings can be done on a busier day, but there are many steps that go into finding job listings and the preliminary search is the work that can be done on busier days.

Registering for websites like or are great and easy ways to get the ball rolling on your internship search. They allow you to save jobs to your profile and they also allow you to upload your resume to your profile, which makes the future applying to the job much easier. When reading job descriptions, however, you should allot a few hours a day to ensure that you meet the job requirements and to make sure that you are actually interested in the job.

Networking and utilizing connections are things that can be done all throughout the day through both face-to-face conversations and e-mails. Do not be afraid to put yourself out there. Devote a couple hours each Friday to talking to professors, advisors, career counselors, family friends, family, etc. to network for certain internship opportunities that may not be publicized online. In addition, if you have a meeting set up with a professional, be sure to have copies of your resume and cover letter handy (this is a similar process to how businesspeople always have their business cards handy because you never know who you are going to meet).

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I always try to fit in at least an hour of networking into my everyday schedule, but this is subject to change depending on your dream internship as well as the networking events provided by your university. However, networking is the most important part of staying motivated and on top of your internship application process because you never know what can come from networking and the worst thing someone will say to you if you ask for his/her help is no, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

When it comes to finally submitting your internship applications, make sure you have notes on the due dates of each application and be sure to read over each application multiple times. I suggest submitting your applications that Sunday before they are due and devoting six to eight hours to do so. By doing this, you can start your week off fresh and focus on fully on your academics instead of diving your time between searching and applying to internships and your schoolwork.

I cannot stress to you enough how important it is to be aware of due dates and application requirements. Read through everything at least three times and even have another person read through your stuff so that you have a fresh pair of eyes looking through your work… I promise it’s worth it, even though it may seem tedious.

I wish everyone the best of luck with internship applications and make sure to stick to a regimented schedule and to remain on top of your application deadlines!

I am currently a junior at the University of Michigan.

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