Internship season is rolling around faster than you might think. It’s easy to stress yourself out about aspects of the application process such as competition, interviews, and qualifications. Here are six foolproof ways you can help yourself land the internship of your dreams.
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If you’re in college and looking for an internship, pay your Career Services Center a visit. A lot of the times, colleges will have websites where they post internships in the area or within a certain discipline. You might need to do some digging to find the ones for you, but take advantage of your school’s connections with existing internship opportunities. You might even come across something interesting you never previously thought about.
Talk to as many people as you can, including family, family friends, peers, and mentors about your internship search. Ask if they have any leads or know anyone in the area you’re interested in pursuing. If you’re an underclassman, chances are you’re not going to have much experience on your resume. Connections are key, so form as many as you can. You never know what the outcome might be.
Cater your resume to the specific job. Take your experiences and make sure they reflect the traits the internship is looking for in a candidate. For example, if it’s a public relations internship, frame your resume so that it plays to the community outreach and branding aspects of what you did in previous jobs. Do research on the company and tweak your resume so that it’s unique to every internship you’re applying for. This sounds like a lot of work, but it’s worth it if you want to catch the eye of whoever’s reading the application. The employers are sifting through hundreds of applications a day, so you want yours to stand out from the rest.
Don’t be selective; send out a ton of applications. If you send out 20, you’ll probably hear back from two or three employers. Chuck your ego out the door, and get a resume out to as many people as you can. It’s important to remember that the work you will be doing at an internship is not what you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life. They’re there to give you some work experience. Try to be open minded and you’ll quickly be able to figure out what you want your next internship to be (and not be). Trust that as time goes on, you’ll have a much clearer idea of what interests you and what you want to pursue.
If you get an interview, congratulations! During your interview, you want to make sure you appear passionate about the position. Know what the company does and memorize its mission statement. Genuine interest will take you really far. Talk about your strengths, but frame them in a way that puts the company first- how your strengths benefit the company as opposed to how the company will benefit you. Package yourself in a way that the company will think, “This person will fit the needs of our company.”
Start now. Think about broader industries that you’re interested in - is it finance, beauty, advertising? Research the big companies that make up those industries and see if they have internship programs listed on their websites. This will require some time, but these programs will give you the best experience to carry you from internship to internship. Not to mention, they will look great on your resume.
Anna Wu is a 19 year-old writer, dumpling chef, and avid listener of self-help podcasts. As an Asian-American college student, she is passionate about creating content that inspires young people to find and discuss diverse narratives on the journey of better understanding themselves. She is currently studying at Mount Holyoke College.