A huge professional stepping stone for many college students is getting an internship. It can be the gateway to learning a new skill, making professional connections and even potentially getting a job in the future. Internships also teach you a lot about what kind of employee you are: do you like to work at a desk all day, or do you prefer being up and about completing tasks? It goes without saying that internships can allow for incredible professional and personal growth, but how do you land one of these coveted positions?
The application and interviewing process of searching for an internship isn’t typically very glamorous. But, there are some little tips and tricks you can keep in mind while applying and interviewing to make the process go smoother. Hopefully these effective tips can help you land that position you’ve always wanted.
Search on job sites for positions that match your interests and qualifications
Internship listings aren’t just going to fall out of the sky, so you’ll need to do some searching to find openings that fit your interests. Some sites that people tend to have lots of success with are LinkedIn, Indeed and Handshake. For certain majors, you can find specific websites that tailor to job postings for that specific field of work — for example, Ed2010 is a good resource for editorial jobs.
Make sure when you’re reading the job descriptions, you read over the qualifications very carefully. Often, internships will ask specific requirements of their applicants, like a certain GPA or grade level, or they might only want to hire an intern with previous intern experience. All of these things should be accounted for when applying for a position — you can’t expect to get hired for an opening that doesn’t match your experience level.
Spice up your resume
If you’re applying to any internship or job, you’ll need a resume. Besides your birth certificate and social security card, this might just be the most important piece of paper you’ll own throughout your application process. Your resume is your one-page (let us reiterate: ONE PAGE) ticket to showing your potential future employer why they should hire you. Make sure you include your educational background, skills, previous work experience, as well as any experience related to the job market you’re trying to enter. For example, if you’re applying for a TV production internship, you definitely should mention that you’re the director of your school’s daily news broadcast.
Resume etiquette and requirements vary greatly depending on the field of work, and you can get a better idea of what sort of things you should be putting on your resume by asking a trusted mentor or professor. Regardless, you want to use this page to really sell yourself as a potential hire — you deserve this internship, and your resume should reflect that.
Lower your expectations
If you’re applying for your first internship ever, you may want to lower your expectations a bit. Sometimes, people get really lucky and have all of the necessary qualifications for high-ticket internships right on their first try, but that’s not usually the reality. For your first one, start small. Don’t hold yourself back from applying to everything you want to apply to, because you never know what could happen — but make sure you’re keeping in mind that you’re just starting out. And, those coveted positions at huge, corporate companies might suit you better later on in your college career when you’ve had more experience.
Ask for help
It can be hard to ask for help. But, sometimes that extra push from a mentor, older friend or professor can be that push that will help you land the job. Ask people that you know in your field of work if they have any tips, or if they have connections at companies you’re interested in. You might be surprised at some of the professional connections people have — especially professors and older students at your school. Also if your school has a career center, definitely set up a meeting with a counselor. They have a presence on your campus for a reason, and they’ll definitely be able to provide some guidance on helping you find internships, as well as perfecting your resume and your interview skills.