The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Being a college student in communications it’s hard to escape the constant conversations surrounding internships and real-world experience — all things that you have to do before you graduate. Doesn’t it seem daunting? While your degree is important, experience in your field of interest is even more valuable.
Don’t be overwhelmed when you find yourself breaking into the internship search process. You are more than capable; you just have to find the right fit for you.
I’m here to share what I learned during my application process that landed me a role as an editorial intern this past summer. I learned a lot about myself during the search process and even more while actually on site.
My internship has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career thus far and I hope these tips make you feel a little more at ease.
You can prepare yourself for any interview first by getting the appropriate attire. Though it is important to note that during your interview the clothes you wear should reflect you. How would you just dress if you were actually on the job? Be authentic.
Research the company you’re applying for. Any recruiter is going to appreciate research done beforehand — it shows you care. You want to familiarize yourself with the organization, its values and the job you are interested in. You’re not going to want to ask questions that you can find the answer to online.
Bring copies of your resume with you to the interview — the interviewer may not have a copy on hand. Effort goes a long way.
Practice. There are sample interview questions all over the place, take advantage of them and practice talking out loud or in the mirror. Walkthrough the interview in your head and you won’t feel so overwhelmed when it’s the real deal.
Modify resumes and cover letters for your desired position.
Though it may appear to be tedious tailoring your resume and cover letter to reflect the position and individual company you are applying for is indicative of your interest. This all goes back to research.
What work have you done that mirrors that of the organizations’ best? Consider past experiences that are most relevant to the position you are applying for and only mention those roles in your resume to make effective use of the single page.
They say connections are everything and that really does hold true. Networking with professionals in your field of interest is one way to jumpstart your career. A good starting point is upperclassmen and alumni of your college or university.
This is not just an opportunity to acknowledge their experience but rather taking initiative to reach out can provide you with insight into the career you have eyes on. Don’t be afraid to have those one-on-one conversations. Connections do get you a long way.
Always follow up.
This tip is crucial. In the half-hour following the end of your interview send a thank-you note. Following up is not pushy contrary to popular belief. This shows you are actively interested in the position and that you care.
In an ideal world, you’ll get a status update on your application or you may hear nothing at all. There really isn’t much for you to lose here. The positives outweigh any negatives when it comes to sending follow-ups.
Following up also allows you to continue a relationship and connection with the recruiter or interviewer. You never know what could happen unless you try.
The application process may be stressful but the reward is worth it. Every college student’s internship journey looks different and that is OK. Put your best foot forward and be yourself; the opportunities will come to you.
Wishing you all the best and much success.