Are you currently applying to a boatload of internships? Are you feeling overwhelmed with all the different writing prompts and cover letter requirements? Are you wondering how to best organize everything? You’ve come to the right place! Internships are a fantastic way to amp up your college applications and résumé while gaining some experience in whatever field you’re looking to pursue. Ensuring you have a strong application for each internship is important, and staying organized can help lessen the stress of applying. Here are three easy ways to keep track of all your materials.
Method #1: Google Sheets
One way to stay organized as you’re applying to internships is to use Google Sheets—similar to Microsoft Excel spreadsheets but free to create with a Google account. To get started, create a sheet with columns for each new internship opportunity and rows with the following categories: Essays and Supplemental Materials, Cover Letters, Résumé, Interview, Application Link, and Deadline. For the Essays and Supplemental Materials row, add the specific questions you have to answer with a link to a Google Doc where you’ll actually write the essay. If a company asks for a cover letter, I’ll usually add it on the same Doc as the essay to keep everything together, but the column is to note whether a cover letter is required. Usually, you won’t need to alter your résumé too much from one internship application to another, but sometimes you might. For example, if you’re applying to technical positions, you may want to include more coding experiences and projects rather than volunteer positions. The Résumé section is for you to mark down what would be beneficial to specifically mention in that internship’s résumé and link to it for easy access.
If the internship requires an interview, look up how past interviews have gone for other applicants and keep these links in this section. It also might be helpful to note any additional relevant information from the company’s website. In the Application Link row, put the website application URL so you can refer to it while writing your cover letter or question responses to tailor them to the skills the company is looking for. Lasty, the Deadline section is self-explanatory; just always make sure you write the correct deadline for each application. You might even want to add a personal deadline a little earlier, just to make sure you stay on track.
Method #2: Google Docs
Another way to help systemize your internship applications is to use one Google Doc to keep every single application in one place. You can use the “Table of Contents” feature to organize and easily jump to certain sections when you need to work on a particular application. Instead of organizing with what you need universally, each new addition in the Table of Contents should be a new company you’re applying to with subsections for all the materials you need, websites you’re using, and deadlines to follow. Within each section, use the same row categories from the Google Sheet method to stay organized. With this setup, not only will you be able to easily click on the company you’re applying to, but you’ll also be able to have a copy of each application on hand! This method may also be visually easier, as not everyone likes the layout of a spreadsheet for tracking information. It’s all about finding what method works best for you to ease your stress and more easily expedite your internship applications.
Method #3: A binder
Although it may seem outdated, printing papers and keeping them organized in a binder works very well for some people. Grab a binder and a couple of transparent dividers, then divide it into sections for each company you’re interested in. You should keep a physical checklist of items you need for each application and print it out once you complete it. You’ll also want to track which internships you’ve officially applied to because you don’t want to accidentally send an application twice. This method works especially well when the internship you’re applying for has an office nearby, as you can go and drop off your application in person (unless it specifically says otherwise). You can also use the binder sections to separate different aspects of your holistic résumé. For example, if you have a common résumé, a common format for a cover letter, reusable letters of recommendation, etc., you can print multiple copies and leave them in each section. If you ever need a copy of your résumé on hand, your binder is going to really come in handy.
Being organized is important as you fill out internship applications, because things can get messy quickly and cause you to miss important deadlines. Remember, each method will work better for some than others, so play around to find out what works for you. As long as you have a system to stay on top of things, you’ll be fine. Good luck with your applications!
You can find so much more advice on searching for and landing an internship with the blogs and articles in our Internships and Careers section.