Since yesterday was the career fair, I think it is appropriate that this article be about securing an internship. Though I was unable to attend the career fair due to some academic obligations (comes with the territory of taking 18+ credits), I do know a thing or two about securing an internship — be it during school or over the summer.
The most popular time students work internships is during the summer, when they can essentially take on the role of a full-time employee. These situations give the student valuable work experience that they can use to bolster a resume and be more competitive when it comes time for more valuable work. Internships also serve to allow a glimpse into day-to-day life in a desired field. Speaking on behalf of some of my friends, sometimes an internship can be a wake-up call that a particular field isn’t well-suited for you. One of my friends had an internship in a U.S. Navy patent office this past summer. She went into it thinking that being a lawyer was exactly what she wanted to be for the rest of her life. But by the end of her internship, she realized that she was vastly unprepared for it, and she wasn’t okay with making the life changes associated with becoming one.
So an internship is valuable, no doubt, but how do you go about securing one? Often times students go to career fairs on campus where they can blanket their resumes to many different companies and hope that they hear back from at least one of them. Employers often hold information sessions throughout the year that the Career Services Office advertises. These are great to get to know a potential employer on a more intimate level and to actually be able to ask some in-depth questions. Another method for interacting with would-be employers is straight-up cold calling them (which I had success with this past summer).
Of course it’s often said that it really isn’t about what you know but about who you know. I couldn’t agree more. Every job and internship thus far has in some way, shape, or form been connected to someone that I knew. Entering big name companies can sometimes be difficult but making contact with alumni or through mutual friends with someone on the inside can often put your resume on the top of the stack.
Here are 10 tips on securing an internship:
1) Really edit your resume to make it as professional as possible (readable and on ONE PAGE ONLY).
2) For more formal applications, make sure to have a cover letter curtailed for that company.
3) Always dress to impress, no crazy colors though.
4) Use a firm handshake and look the other person in the eyes when introducing yourself.
5) Be confident about who you are
6) APPLY, APPLY, APPLY. Seriously, apply to everything.
7) Don’t get discouraged, you probably won’t hear back from a lot of them or get rejected, but all it takes is one YES to make it all worth it.
8) Go to Career Fairs, Information Sessions and ask genuine questions.
9) Go out on a limb, make a cold call or two.
10) If they reject you, ask them what could make you a stronger candidate for next year.
(Featured image credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bc/Seminar_Bard_College_Berlin,_2013.jpg)