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Applying for a D.C. summer internship

Jenna Johnson

The District is one of the most popular destinations for summer internships -- and not just political ones. Even though it's only January, many college students already know what they will be doing this summer. But it's not too late to apply for many programs, and Lauren Berger, CEO of Intern Queen Inc, has advice on successfully scoring a D.C. internship.

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Start your DC blogroll
There are tons of great intern-related blogs out there, including some specifically for D.C. interns. Start bookmarking them and checking them every few days. One of my favorites is Spotted: DC Interns. It's a hilarious, sassy compilation of anonymous intern screw-ups-- like a page thinking "bill hopper" was a person and a group of underage interns trying to use their red Congressional badges as identification at a bar.

Start tweeting
Get a Twitter account, follow employers you might want to work for and use the list function to compile them together. Many employers will put information about their internship programs on their Twitter feeds, plus it's a quick way to learn about how they operate. You should also follow career and internship coaches from your college (and of course me at @internqueen). They will constantly be tweeting information about internships in your area. Follow the Post's @dcinternjobs for up-to-date internship listings in the District.

Have you met your career center?
Most colleges have a career center that is one of the most valuable resources on campus. Schedule a time in the next week to meet with a counselor. Dig through their local internship listings. They will have tons of internship information, and if you are interested in something that they are unfamiliar with, they can reach out and make the connection for you. Seriously, make an appointment or go in within the next week.

Start your search
Make a list of 10 to 20 companies where you can visualize yourself working in the future. Research the contact information for each employer. The internship information can normally be found on the company Web site. Document all of the information you find. Set aside a block of time and start sending out your materials!

Follow up is key
Make sure to follow up with each employer about two weeks after sending in your application.

D.C. internships to check out
* The Marriott International Internship has made BusinessWeek's Top 50 Internships Nationwide List.
*The Smithsonian Internship Program is listed on the Forbes Best Internships in 2010 list. It accepts more than 900 interns each year and the deadline for this summer is Feb. 15.
* The SIRIUS XM Radio Internship was named one of the Top 10 Internships in America for 2008 and will start looking for summer interns in mid-February.
* The Public Forum Institute Internship will be accepting applications for summer internships until March 31.

Internship-matching companies
* The Washington Internship Institute
* The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars
* The Fund For American Studies

About Lauren Berger
Lauren earned the title "Intern Queen" by completing 15 internships during her four years of college at the University of Central Florida. After graduating in 2006, she decided to turn her experience interning into a career and launched Intern Queen Inc. Lauren travels the country to talk to students, runs an internship listing site, blogs and was just named one of BusinessWeek's Top 25 Entrepreneurs 25 and Under in 2009. Lauren can be reached at lauren@internqueen.com.

By Jenna Johnson  |  January 25, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. Interns  | Tags: D.C. Interns, Internships  
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