Aug. 27 2011 09:20 AM

Although it may not seem like it, application season is right around the corner. Preparing well can land you your dream internship.

The start of the school year isn't far away (if it hasn't begun already), and many students are headed off to college for the first, or perhaps the last, time. They are busy packing their car full of boxes, moving into dorm rooms and apartment buildings, and trying to find all their classes. Although it means the end to the freedom of summer, the start of school is often an exciting time.

One of the last things on the minds of college students are their plans for next summer. Between trying to keep up with class, part-time jobs, and extracurricular organizations, it isn't hard to forget about applying for internships. But, it is important (and less stressful) to start thinking about internship and job applications early in the fall. Some internship applications are even due in September and October!

Brushing the dust off your resume is a good place to start. Update it with summer work experience or new leadership roles in organizations. If you are feeling ambitious, give your resume a new look by changing the format or experimenting with a new font. Starting on a few general cover letters will help when there are many application due dates in a short time. If you need help with these important items, many schools have a career services department for this very purpose.

Even if you are not ready to start applying yet, explore your options. National Dairy Shrine has a very complete internship listing that can get you started. Additionally, many companies will send postings to school departments or even student organizations. Many colleges also have career fairs where employers recruit for future positions. Reading through job descriptions can help you write cover letters, tailor your resume, and help you decide which internships you want to pursue.

If you're having a hard time finding an internship that is right for you, don't be afraid to create your own. Contacting companies that don't offer internships or farms you would like to work on is a great way to start a conversation. Oftentimes, nontraditional or new internships can be the most beneficial.

Internships are the best way to apply classroom knowledge in a real-world setting, gain experience in a field, and build connections. Do not wait too long to start applying as you might miss out on some of the best internships. Happy searching!