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An Internship Story: The Application

When it comes to landing an internship, the process is not always a walk in the park. Between knowing what you want to intern in, sailing through the interview, and mastering your first day (and the many days to follow), things can get a bit overwhelming. So we’ve developed a series to guide you through the journey of an internship!

The first step in getting an internship, of course, is applying to one. While it may seem as easy as a click of a button, there are a few things you should consider to help your application stand out.

Resume

It’s pretty much a given that your resume should be polished to perfection. This includes no typos, grammatical errors, or misplaced punctuations. But with a few extra steps, you can make that resume shine like a diamond in the sky.

Don’t Omit the Details

Think your babysitting doesn’t deserve prime real estate on that resume? Well think again, because caring for children means you are trustworthy. Your summer jobs at grocery stores or in retail should never be omitted either, because the skills you acquire at those establishments could be what set you apart from other applicants. As long as you keep your resume to one page in length, feel free to include all of your volunteer work, past jobs, and even extra-curriculars (if they pertain to the job to which you are applying).

Design

Many debate whether resumes should be strictly black and white or include some color. The key is to use judgement and understand the field to which you are applying. For example, if you are looking to join the business and finance world, it’s best to keep your resume looking clean and professional, but you can use a subtle color palette if you want to stand out. Whereas if you are looking for an internship at a design company, you can definitely turn the creativity up a notch. Canva has plenty of free templates to choose from.

Cover Letter

Your resume and cover letter should go together like movies and popcorn. While some jobs don’t require one, it’s always best to include one just in case. Writing a cover letter is understandably tedious, but the piece truly serves a purpose—it tells the company why they should choose you over anyone else. Since you kept the resume to a one-page length, this is your chance to show the skills and passions you have and what you would bring to the table. TIP: keep a general cover letter on your desktop with a few sentences or so, and tailor it to fit each application you send. You might want to add things like why you chose to apply to a certain position or even a specific company. You’ll be surprised how a few paragraphs can bring you closer to an interview call.

Research and Applying

The most sure-fire way to get the internship of your dreams is to do your research. Sites like Internships.com, Indeed.com, the Her Campus Jobs and Internships board, as well as your school’s career page have an infinite number of internship listings. Before you send out your resume to every single post, read through the job descriptions thoroughly. Understanding the tasks you will be responsible for will not only help tell whether a certain internship is right for you or not, but it will also spare those who will be responsible for training you when you realize that position is just not what you wanted. After reading through the post, do some research on the actual company/organization you will be interning with. Read reviews from past interns and employees. You will find a goldmine of information pertaining to the interview process (you can read part two of this article here), the overall environment, and most importantly, the skills acquired. Because at the end of the day, a successful internship is one where you learn about a certain industry, and make connections for your professional life. Your internship could very well lead to a job offer, so you wouldn’t want to work at a random place thats hiring.

Submit applications in batches of five to ten. If you get positive responses, you’ll know that your resume and cover letter are doing their job. If you don’t hear back, you might want to consider tweaking them a bit before diving back once more. Just make sure to remember that no call or email does not necessarily mean you are no good. Several factors must be considered, including the amount of applications received, previous experience pertaining to the field you applied to, and subjective factors that we as applicants don’t have control over.

But if the stars align and you submitted your polished resume and cover letter to an internship position that you have previous experience in as well as a passion for, you will probably get a call or email for an interview!

Then what? Keep an eye out for part two where we’ll guide you through that leg of the journey!

Good Luck!
Rama Majzoub

New School

Rama is Editor in Chief and Campus Correspondent at The New School. She is on track to graduate with a master's in psychology in spring of 2018.
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