Everything You Need to Know to Land Your Dream Internship!

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Interested in an internship but confused about how to go about getting one?  Don't fret; I'm here to help you to not sweat this seemingly stressful process.  Thinking about internships can often be daunting and intimidating, and often times you want to put it in the back of your mind and forget about it, but I'm here to tell you it's really not that bad.  In fact, it is totally do-able, no matter what your major is or what class you’re in.

You may wonder, "When should I start thinking about internships?"  Some people say you should start thinking about it freshman year, and some people say junior year, but the real answer is that it is never too early and never too late to start thinking about an internship.  BC recommends that you try to do at least two internships in your college career, whether they are over the summer, winter, or even during the school year.  The point is, whether you are an English major in A&S or a Finance major in CSOM, a freshman or a junior, there is no correct major or class for an internship.

My first piece of advice for you is to get to know the Career Center and it's website.  There are extremely welcoming and helpful people in the Career Center and the website provides a lot of useful tips.  You can book an appointment with an advisor in advance or you can drop-in during the drop-in hours.  The Career Center can help you improve or create your resume as well as your cover letter.  They also have interview workshops and mock interviews, which I strongly recommend.

First, you attend an interview workshop where they teach you the basics of an interview.  Then you can call to book an appointment in person for a one-hour mock interview with a staff member from the Career Center.  You come dressed up in business attire and the staff member will critique your interviewing skills.  I strongly recommend doing this at some point during your time at BC because it will provide you with invaluable skills that will help you for the rest of your life.  It is also important that you browse the Career Center's website after reading this article and informing yourself of all that it has to offer.

Alright, you've made it this far, and now it is time to apply for your internships.  My first piece of advice about applying is to not limit yourself to one application.  Apply to a myriad of positions.  I was once at an internship workshop, and they suggested applying to at least twenty internships in the hopes of getting chosen for one.  Don't have your heart set on just one internship—that would be like applying to one college in the hopes of getting in.  In searching for internships you have three options:

  1. You can use the connections and networks that you already have.
  2. You can search and apply online.
  3. You can attend the Internship Fair.

If you're lucky and have great connections that can help get you an internship, that's great!  Use them!  Create a LinkedIn profile and connect with your classmates, employers, and colleagues.  LinkedIn is one of the best resources out there for networking—it’s the professional version of Facebook.  

If you don't have any connections that can help you find an internship, there are many resources online for applying. The Career Center has a website called EagleLink, which has posted jobs and internships for current BC students and alumni—all you need to sign in is your BC username and password.  From the EagleLink website you can not only RSVP for Career Center events, but you can also search and filter through job postings.  You can filter your search by keywords, position type, job function, industry, and location.

If you click on a job posting, it provides you all the pertinent information: contact, desired start date, salary level (paid or unpaid, something you must consider in your search), a brief description, requirements for the job, and the type of applicant that the employer is looking for.  EagleLink also provides you with access to the employer's profile.  Some postings allow you to apply directly through EagleLink (by uploading your resume and cover letter) or they will provide you with an email or website through which you can apply.  If you want to find an online resource that is separate from BC, one great website is Indeed.com. Indeed is open to anybody, and the advantage of this resource is that you are not competing against all BC students, and in some cases your Boston College degree (or in-progress degree in this case) sets you apart from the other applicants.

Your third option in finding an internship is to attend Boston College's Internship Fair.  You probably will not be offered a job or even obtain an internship from the fair itself, but it's purpose is to expose you to employers and companies and hopefully you will make a few connections.  The Internship Fair is a great networking resource on campus.  Take advantage of it!

So now that you have applied to a handful (or more) of internships, your only job is to wait and hope that an employer contacts you.  If you get contacted and called in for an interview, congratulations!  You have made it this far!  They liked your resume and/or cover letter.  This doesn't mean that you have the job (not at all), but you should take this as a huge accomplishment.

Don't be nervous about your interview.  Use the Career Center's services and also practice with your friends or in a mirror.  Research the company and the employer, and you can look up your interviewer on Google or on LinkedIn to get a feel for who he/she is.  Look at the Career Center's website, and you will find the list of questions interviewers ask, which is especially helpful.  

Once you do all this, practice.  Practice, practice, practice!  Be confident!  Be yourself!  Be personable!  You want to show that you have the skills needed to do the job, but also that you are a real person, someone that people want to work with.  At the end of the day, just remember that you did all that you could.  

My roommate recently gave me some great advice when I was going through this process myself.  She compared an interview to an audition, and she told me that an interview is not about proving yourself, but instead is a performance.  You want to perform your heart out and show everything that you have to offer, and if it doesn't happen, it's not because you weren't good enough, but because you weren't a fit for the job.  Just remember that you got into BC, and you are proactively reading this article, so you are on the right track!  If you don't get the internship, think of it as a great learning experience, and remember that there will be more interviews to come.  If you do get the internship, congratulations!

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About The Author

Briana is a junior at Boston College studying abroad in Parma, Italy. She studies English and Italian. She loves books, clothes, and country music. Add her on twitter @brigalita !!