Internships can play a huge role in helping college students get better job opportunities and make more money post-graduation. According to Forbes, an internship has a 60% chance of turning into a full-time job offer from that company. It is obvious that the after-effects of internships are all positive, but how do students with no professional work experience land internships with these big popular companies?
WHERE TO LOOK
The first step in finding an internship is knowing where to look. There are many sources online and on college campuses that will help you find the right fit for you. Most colleges host job and internship fairs; these are great places to come face to face with employers. Colleges also have academic or internship student advisors that can help answer any questions you may have. Online resources like Indeed and Glass Door are great tools but can be overwhelming due to the volume of internship searches.
The last place to look for internships would be cold calling businesses you would like to work for. Cold calling is the process of calling the intended business, introducing yourself, and asking about possible internship opportunities. If the company does not have any internship opportunities, but you are eager to work for them, you can offer to be the company's first ever intern. Another example of cold calling could also be walking into the intended business’s office and dropping off a resume. This tactic helps the business match your face to your resume before an interview even takes place. You can introduce yourself and give the business owner something to think about.
Once you are ready to start applying, you need to prepare your resume. First, you need to update your resume so that it’s up to date with current jobs, experience, education, and certifications. Your resume should also look professional by avoiding bright colors and funky fonts. You should also update your resume to complement each individual internship application you submit. For some internships and jobs, they may want to see an online portfolio of any work you have completed. Make sure that the information on the resume and the work in the portfolio are relevant to the internship description you are applying for.
WHAT IS A COVER LETTER?
A cover letter is a short, personalized written statement explaining your strengths and why you deserve the job you are applying for. Just like a resume, a new cover letter should be created for each individual application. Avoid pre-made online cover letter templates because they are extremely impersonal. For more helpful tips on building your cover letter, check out this article.
LIGHT UP THE INTERVIEW
Once all of your documents are ready to go and the applications have been filled out and submitted, it’s time to show what you’ve got! Be confident in the interview. Arrive about 15 minutes early with all necessary materials. While waiting for the interview to begin, practice deep breathing exercises to calm any interview nerves. Make sure you conduct some research on the company. Know their mission statement and weave some of the keywords into your conversation. Remember to sit up straight and maintain eye contact. At the conclusion of the interview, ask your own questions. An example question would be, “Could you describe an average day in the life of one of your interns?” For more interview help, check out this article on how to nail your job interview.
DON’T SIT AROUND AND WAIT
After the interview is over, follow up with the interviewer by sending them a written thank you note. The thank you note will allow you to include anything you may have forgotten to mention during the interview. It also forces the interviewer to think about you and how your interview went. This will set you apart from most people who do great in interviews but never follow up with the interviewer. You should conclude the note by thanking them for their time.
REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT.
Be patient, but don’t sit around and wait for a call. Remember that rejection is a big part of the internship application process. The key to landing an internship is to repeat all of these steps and keep applying to as many internship opportunities as possible. In between internship applications, be sure to clean up your social media accounts. Potential employers are likely to look through your different social media profiles. It is good to be mindful of what you post when applying for professional business opportunities. Remember to stay positive and optimistic.
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