College is a hectic time. Not only do you have classes, but between clubs, part-time jobs and a social life where do you even find time for sleep? Well, you don’t. However, you still can control landing that dream internship. This takes planning and hard work.
“Intern Queen,” Lauren Berger suggests seven to nine internships before you graduate. That may seem overwhelming but these tips and strategies can help.
Think of everyone around you, parents, teachers, advisers, alumni and reach out to them. They are happy to help but can’t help if you don’t ask. It all starts with a simple question. Once asked, take full advantage of the opportunity and pick their brain with any ideas or questions.
You can choose from so many different avenues to reach your end goal. Let’s say you’re going after a broadcast internship, well don’t rule out that journalism internship. Yes, it’s not exactly the one you’re after, but you can still learn so much that would carry over and help with a future broadcast job.
Do your homework. You’re a college student, what’s new? Look up your dream company. Learn about the culture. Look up the CEO and president and fact find. You want to know the company inside and out when going into an interview. Try and find employee reviews of the company. Follow all social media accounts connected to the company. Find out how their values align with yours. Do they have a philanthropic statement or community service opportunities? Do they have a good work-life balance? Studying is the last thing we want to do, but if you’d do it for school, do it for your internship.
Make sure your resume aligns with the internship/job details. If that job description notes you need strong computer skills, you better list all the programs/software that showcases your competency. Tailor it to each application you submit. Companies are looking through hundreds of resumes so make yours stand out! A lot of human resource departments are sending resumes through screening software to filter out irrelevant resumes, so use strong keywords that link to the company.
Stop talking about your background in your cover letter, that’s what your resume is for. A cover letter should be brief and concise but you still need to hook the interest of the recipient with something unique about you. Detail what you can do for your company and why you should/deserve the position. Once again, don’t be bland, get creative and be original.
You’re already putting in so much work tailoring that resume and doing your homework on the company, don’t stop now! Find someone to practice interviewing with. It could be your mom, a friend, a coworker or a teacher. Look up some common interview questions on the internet and have them interview you. Pretend this is the real deal, answer all of the questions like you mean it. This will really help with your anxiety during the real interview because you will have rehearsed.
You worked so hard to get this interview and you did well, but don’t stop there. First off, write a hand-written thank-you note to drop in the mail right after that interview. This shows you appreciate their time and are cordial. Next, if you don’t hear anything after a week, give them a call and ask them if they’ve had time to look over your resume and cover letter. This way they will grab your folder and put it back on the top to review. Following up really does work!
College can be a busy and scary time for students but following these steps will help ease some of the stress. Not all seven to nine internships must be perfect– just getting out and getting hands-on experience in your field is the goal. Use these experiences to help better your future experiences and make your career successful.