It's not that hard to land a great summer internship at a financial services company. I know; I interview people for internships at my bank.
Basically, you just have to figure out your career theme - the career goal that will make sense of the string of accomplishments on your resume - and then exude enthusiasm in your interviews. Beyond that, though, there are a number of specific actions you should take to get the internship you want.
Study Your Resume
Before you go on a single interview for a summer internship, pull out your resume and read every single word of it. Think about everything listed on it. Think about what you accomplished in each experience mentioned on your resume.
If you spend some time on this exercise before your interviews, you'll never give another one of those startled, blank stares when an interviewer asks you a question about that job you had four years ago!
Make Your Resume Better
Does it include anything about your non-work interests? If not, it should. Include a line or two about your interests and hobbies. It'll make you more unique in the eyes of the reader, and may result in the kind of personal connection between you and the interviewer that gets you the job.
Also, have you done any traveling? List the places you've traveled to at the bottom of your resume in that miscellaneous "Interests/Special Skills" section. Most financial services companies do business around the world, and are looking for interns who have traveled, since travel suggests open-mindedness and familiarity with cultures other than one's own.
Find Your Career Theme
Now, pretend you are Joe Schmoe, interviewer, and have never heard of this person - you - before. Figure out the story that will make you the best possible internship candidate in Mr. Schmoe's eyes. How? Pick out the common thread of your professional story - the logic of how and why you moved from Job A to Job B to Job C.
Next, look at the experiences and accomplishments listed on your resume, and think about how they have made you the right candidate for the internship you want.
Practice Your Spiel
Now, look in the mirror, take a deep breath, and relax. Go through each bullet point on your resume and elaborate on your experiences. Talk out loud and be yourself. Watch yourself as you speak.
If you feel stupid doing this alone in front of your bathroom mirror, ask your best friend or someone else you trust to listen to you in action. Are you muttering? Are you making eye contact? Do you have a booger popping out of your nose, or are you presentable?
Imagine difficult or surprising questions you might be asked; try to be unflappable as you answer them. Doing this will help prepare you for whatever question an interviewer might lob your way.
Check Your Attitude at the Door
Don't be too cocky in your interviews. You need to be on your best behavior to do well. That doesn't mean you have to be boring and it doesn't mean you have to be phony. It just means you have to act like a professional.
Got a problem figuring out what that means? Think about how you act when you're with the parents of your girlfriend or boyfriend - respectful and respectable, but not too nervous to let your real personality shine through.
When I interview internship candidates, I'm not looking for seasoned professionals. All I want to see is that your skills fit in the most remote way to the internship you are vying for. That said, I still want specifics - to hear you describe your accomplishments in detail, and with an eye toward how they fit the internship you want.
If the internship you want is in commercial banking, talk about how you streamlined your company's letters-of-credit process, or how you helped cut costs in the treasury areas of your company.
If you are looking for a career in mergers and acquisitions, emphasize your negotiation skills with clients and vendors. A venture capital firm wants you to show your intuitive ability to read between the lines of companies' business plans and financial statements. If you're interested in corporate finance and risk management, know your derivatives inside and out.
A shop serving predominantly South American clients will want to hire people who are fluent in Spanish or Portuguese - and who can demonstrate how much they understand those cultures. Be sure to mention to your interviewer how you understand that Brazilians never like to rush headlong into business but like to talk about personal things first their families, their weekend, soccer. I-banks might want to see if you possess in-depth knowledge of a particular industry - and if you have the stamina to work those killer hours.
Remember: Use specifics to sell yourself. Think of your interviews as an opportunity to flesh out the bullet points on your resume with interesting anecdotes.