As a student, holding an internship is one of the most important things you can do to learn and gain experience. There’s only so much you can learn in a classroom, so it’s great that we have the opportunity to put these skills to use in a real work environment. So, how does one go about landing one of these fancy positions? We’re here to help guide you.
Step 1: The Application
The application process is essentially the first impression you leave on a company. Generally, applying for an internship means you’ll need to send in your resume, a cover letter, and references. If it’s applicable to the position you’re applying to, send in work samples in the form of a portfolio or personal website.
Modify your resume and cover letter for each position rather than sending a generic copy to every company.
Companies realize that students apply for multiple internships at a time, so it’s noticeable when all you do is swap out the company name in each resume and cover letter you send out. Read the job description and understand the qualities and skills each company is looking for, then tailor your resume accordingly.
Watch out for grammatical errors and typos.
Overlooking a little mistake can make you look careless to a hiring manager. You’re not in a race to get your application in, so take the time to proofread. A simple typo can result in your resume getting thrown out immediately, even if you’re qualified for the position.
You don’t need prior internship experience, but….
When hiring interns, companies realize that interns won’t have a ton of experience. After all, that’s why they’re seeking an internship in the first place! However, you’ll never set yourself apart from the other applicants if you don’t include some sort of relevant experience on your resume. Here are some ideas:
- Start a blog
- Become a contributor
- Join professional clubs and organizations on campus
Step 2: The Interview Prep
If you’ve landed the interview, congrats! This means you successfully set yourself apart in a pool of applicants. However, you’re not there just yet. Before heading in for an interview, you’ll want to make sure you’re properly prepared.
Research the company.
Make sure to thoroughly look through the company’s website and social channels, know their mission statement and goals, and look to see if you can find any upcoming projects that the company is working on. Knowing these things will help you understand how you can become a valuable asset to the company, which will set you apart to the hiring manager during the interview.
Understand the job description.
Be sure that you understand what the job description entails, so you can prepare to explain how you’re a good candidate during the interview.
Practice answering interview questions.
Although you won’t know what the interviewer will ask until you get there, it’s a good idea to practice sample questions. This will help you gain an understanding of the kind of information you want to get across. It’s also a good idea to prepare an elevator speech.
Step 3: The Interview
The only thing you have left to do now is to nail the interview. You can totally do this! Make sure you arrive early and are fully prepared with everything you need.
What to bring:
- A few copies of your resume, cover letter, and references.
- A pen and notebook to take notes.
- Your portfolio if applicable.
Once you have all of your belongings prepared, head to your interview and make a lasting impression with these tips:
Dress to impress.
Even if the business you’re interviewing for has a casual environment, you should still dress up. Also, avoid any heavy colognes or perfumes that may be irritating to the interviewer.
If you act like you own the moment, they will believe you. If you act like you’re unsure of yourself, they’ll be unsure of you, too.
Even though you’re the one getting interviewed, it’s important that you ask questions as well. It’ll show that you’re genuinely interested in the position and want to know more about the company. Come prepared with a list of questions you’d like the ask the interviewer.
Don’t forget to show your personality! Even if you’re qualified for the position, the interviewer won’t want to hire you if you sound like a robot just spitting out the answers you think they want to hear. On top of being qualified, they want to hire someone they can see themselves having a great working relationship with.
A thank you note could be the one thing that sets you apart from another candidate. After the interview, write a thank you note letting the interviewer know that you appreciate the time they gave you. You could also use this as an opportunity to briefly reiterate why you believe you’re a good candidate for the position.
We wish you the best of luck on your internship search! Do you have any more questions? We’d be happy to answer them and offer some advice. Feel free to comment below or tweet us with any questions you may have. #Internship