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Read how our Writer Landed an Internship at Cosmo and How you can get your Dream Internship!

 

How to Land an Awesome Internship

Last summer, I scored the awesome opportunity of interning at Cosmopolitan Magazine in New York City. I have another internship this semester, and am in the interview process for an event-planning one in Chicago. Since Cosmo, my friends have constantly asked me how I got so lucky. Just saying “I applied?” didn’t seem to satisfy, and thinking about it deeper reveals the process was a lot more than that. Though far from an expert, I’m sharing my advice here on how to find and land a cool opportunity.

1. Make a dream list: Imagine every company you’ve ever wanted to work for. Whether you want to go into Accounting or Marketing or Medicine, write down every single one of these companies. Next, ask yourself why you want to work there. What makes them so special? Research what (if any) internship positions they hire for. Figure out why you would be a good fit and what special qualities you bring to the table. Last, write down all this and start applying. Yes, applying to Google is a long-shot if you don’t have any tech experience. But does it hurt to apply? No. Does Google hire for non-tech positions? Yes. Like the cliché quote, you miss 100% of the shots you never take. This same goes with applying for internships. Imagine the satisfaction you’d receive after getting the position you almost didn’t apply for.

2. Learn how to use social media like a grown-up: Only using Twitter to re-tweet your friend’s pictures of Lolcats? That’s not using social media like a grown-up. Most people our age use Facebook and Twitter to do things like chat with friends and post pictures from the weekend, but that’s not what employers are looking for when they’re hiring. Take your dream list and follow all of those companies on Twitter. Don’t be obnoxious but if you see a post you like, re-tweet or comment on it. Being engaged with a company online shows your interest quickly and efficiently, and it’s really not that hard.

At this semester’s Career Fair, local event-planning company Human Movement Management declined to take physical copies of resumes. Instead, they encouraged potential applicants to follow them on Twitter. They called the quick meeting a “date” and asked you to tweet them about how the date went and what your second would entail. As a young company, this kind of creativity isn’t unusual. More traditional companies like Goldman Sachs might not be as innovative but still use social media to recruit and attract interest.

Less popular among people our age is LinkedIn. Even if you’ve never had a formal job, it’s almost guaranteed you can find people to network with on here. If you’re in a sorority, connect with alumni from your chapter. If you’ve been involved in clubs in campus, check to see if anyone you know from there is on LinkedIn. If all this is way over your head, Career Services offers training to get your LinkedIn set up and to teach you about using it.

3. Use Career Services: If I had to name the one most under-used service that CU offers, it would have to be Career Services. While most students know it exists, many don’t utilize its services until its way too late.Among other awesome features, their website (careerservices.colorado.edu) gives you access to a huge database of employers called Career Buffs. Free and so easy to use, Career Buffs allows you to tailor your search to your specific areas of interest. Even if you have no experience in an area but are interested in it, I’d encourage you to search these opportunities. Even though I have absolutely no marketing experience, I landed a marketing internship through Career Buffs this semester! Since the database is so underused, applying to a job through it gives you a great leg-up in getting hired. Plus, the employers featured in it hire primarily CU students so you’re not competing with a whole country of applicants!

Career Services also helps you design your resume and teaches you how to write a great cover letter. If you’re like the majority of college students, your real-world experience is probably minimal. You might ask yourself, how does working at my local grocery store make me marketable? Trust me, Career Services will figure out how to turn your small experiences into worthy-sounding ones.

4. Be persistent: Searching for internships can be a really tiring and defeating process. If you apply to every company on your dream list and don’t hear back from anywhere, doubtful you’ll feel great about yourself. Don’t let yourself get defeated. A few weeks after applying, write follow-up emails about the status of your application. If you interviewed and never heard back, also write a follow-up thanking the interviewer for his time and letting him know you’re still very interested in the position. There’s a fine line between being persistent and annoying, but employers want interns that are passionate about working for them. Not following-up is just giving up, and you’re better than that.

I'm a 21 year old English and Psychology major. I spent last summer interning at Cosmopolitan Magazine and I'm currently trying to figure out the direction I want to take after graduation. I love writing and I love marketing, so probably a fusion of the two. Sushi, hard cider, and bad horror movies are my weaknesses. I'm also a trivia badass.
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