Summer internships can offer numerous benefits, especially to premed students looking for opportunities to expand their knowledge and experience in the field. Every year, more internship roles are constantly opened for premedical students, especially during the summer. That’s why it’s a good idea to use your summer break to fulfill internship duties and hopefully grow and develop into a better and more knowledgeable future medical student.
Now that applications and internship interviews have started rolling, you may be wondering how you can find and land yourself a summer premed internship role, considering that many other premed students are also seeking the same opportunity as you. The truth is that it can be challenging but certainly not impossible to achieve. All you need to do is take some proven steps that will prepare you and help you make a good impression. Read on to learn more about what you can do to land a premed internship during the summer.
1. Write Specific Goals
To begin, start by writing down your specific career goals. You may aim to get into medical school, but you can tailor that goal into something more specific. You can ask yourself these guide questions:
- Which particular aspect of healthcare would I like to pursue after graduating from med school?
- What skill or knowledge would I like to expand and develop?
- Do I want to apply to a specific organization to secure a position after graduation?
These guide questions will help narrow down the type of internship you’d like to pursue and apply for.
2. Familiarize the Types of Premed Summer Internships
Numerous premed summer internship roles are available under global health projects, private companies, public health departments, and research programs. Getting to know them may also help you determine which internship you’d like to apply for.
- Global Health Projects
For premed students interested in pursuing internships abroad, you can submit your application to hospitals, universities, or global health nonprofit organizations like International Medical Aid. International Medical Aid’s internship focuses on providing medical and healthcare around the globe through volunteering and education. You get an opportunity to offer healthcare assistance to regions in the Caribbean, South America, and East Africa. You can also gain hands-on experience and international exposure in real-life medical and healthcare settings.
- Research Programs
This is perhaps the most common way premed students devote their summer break. You have the option to apply for an internship and work in the same lab from your current university, or you can fulfill intern duties in a different university. In this type of premed internship, you’ll have the chance to work with several research groups on new, exciting research projects.
- Public Health Departments
Hospitals and health departments also actively provide internship opportunities as they continuously seek extra help from interns and premed students. Thus, you can apply for an internship opportunity at your health department or academic hospitals to have more hands-on experience regarding community health.
- Private Companies
Private sectors like pharmaceutical companies also offer summer internships for premed students. Most often, internships provided under the private sector are paid.
3. Start Your Search Early
If you want to get a secure spot for a summer premed internship, you need to start your search early. The earlier you start, the more you can find organizations and companies that offer premed summer internships and summer shadowing programs. You can also seek help from your career counselor as they may refer you to an organization offering summer internships.
4. Leverage Your Network
Active networking is the key to expanding your chances of landing a summer premed internship. It’s important, especially if you’re aiming to land a global health internship, as this type of internship is only available from prominent universities and international health organizations. With a broad network, your teachers, relatives, friends, and acquaintances can refer you to institutions that offer summer premed internships abroad. You can also network and connect with previous interns from your school and see if the organizations they worked for are accepting new interns.
5. Create a Strong Resume
Suppose you now have a list of healthcare companies and organizations you’re planning to apply for. Next, you’ll need to create a strong resume that will make your application stand out from the rest. As much as possible, avoid using one resume for all the positions you’re applying for, as this will only make your resume sound generic. Instead, tailor different resumes to each job and only highlight your skills and knowledge that are relevant and reflective to a specific internship role.
For instance, if you’re aiming to apply for a research position, write down your previous research and analytical experiences. If you’re seeking a public health internship role, focus on highlighting your leadership skills, extracurricular activities, and community involvement. Ensure you also refine your cover letter and reference letters, as these will help strengthen the qualifications and abilities mentioned in your resume.
6. Improve Your Interview Skills
After submitting numerous resumes and applications and you get a callback, you’ll need to prepare for your premed internship interview process. It may be a daunting process, but you can nail your interview and boost your chances of getting a summer premed internship with enough practice and preparation.
Here are some tips to hone your interview skills:
- Do mock interviews with your career counselor, teacher, mentor, or friends.
- Research everything about the company or organization, the internship role, their values and mission, and the interviewer’s profile.
- Practice your responses and take note of your strengths and weaknesses
Additionally, make sure you dress appropriately as your appearance can impact their first impression on you.
Finding a summer premed internship opportunity is no easy challenge. Fortunately, you can use these tips to boost your chances of landing one and get a rare chance to expand your skills, knowledge, and experiences, which you can use when applying to medical school.