An internship is an invaluable experience. Not only will it look good on a future resume, but it allows you a sneak peek into your potential career field, gives you industry contacts, and helps you develop relevant skills.
You should absolutely consider doing at least one internship during your college years (if not multiple), and here are some ways you can increase your odds of scoring one.
To get an internship, you have to find one first. This is where networking comes in. Whether you’re asking your favorite professor, a family friend, or even your academic advisor—everyone knows someone. Never underestimate the power of networking to not only find internships, but to also have someone put in a good word for you.
Social media is a great way to find internships and also present yourself. Employers often check a candidate’s social media pages, so it’s vital to keep those pages clean and positive. If you don’t already have one, created a LinkedIn page to search for internship opportunities and have people search for you as well.
An Impressive Resume
The resume is often your very first impression. This is the place to highlight your skills, experience, interests, goals, and awards/accolades. A resume should be neat, 1–2 pages, have proper spelling and grammar, and be eye-catching.
Employers will want an intern that has some experience related to their job title or duties. This could be previous work, volunteer experiences, or even related classes. Companies will understand that not every intern will have a long list of previous work history, but some relevant experience is ideal.
Nail the Interview
The all-important interview is another key element to earning an internship. Either by phone or in-person, there are a number of things you can do to give it your all:
- Practice, practice, practice. Do a mock-interview with a friend or your career center.
- Research the company. You should know what they do, what their mission statement is, and how your internship fits in the larger picture.
- Print out extra resumes and take them with you. It’s helpful to have one for you to look at and refer to, and it’s nice to have extra in case there’s more than one interviewer.
- Show up early.
- Speak in a clear voice.
- Shake hands firmly. (Nobody likes a weak, droopy handshake).
- Come prepared with 3-4 of your own questions.
- Take notes.
After the interview, be sure to send an email thanking them for their time. If you think of any other questions afterward, feel free to include it in that email as well. After a week or so, follow up with another email or call, inquiring about your candidacy. Following up can earn you kudos.
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