10 Tips to Help You Land an Internship

Over half of the United States’ college graduates do not have a job lined up right after they cross the stage. The statistics are alarming but true. Employers want to see experience. The past four years spent in a classroom doesn’t leave much room for that “Valuable work experience” we keep hearing so much. For this reason, an internship during your undergraduate years is too important to miss out on. Here are some tips to get you through landing the internship of your dreams.

 

  1. Get Ready and Stay Ready First things first before you can even reach out to a potential employer for an internship or apply to an established internship program you have to get yourself together professionally. You should no longer be thinking of yourself as just a student. You should be thinking and carrying yourself as a young professional.
  2.   Gather Your Materials As a young professional, you need a resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile always ready to go. Your resume should be specific to the type of internship you are applying to. If your internship interests are wide you may even need more than one to highlight everything that makes you the perfect candidate.
  3. Do Your Homework Make sure that you have thoroughly researched your industry. By the time you start applying you should know about the top companies and people in your area. It may even help to create a notebook or spreadsheet to keep track.  Knowing this information makes you knowledgeable about who you are applying to work with and it can even make the decision process easier. 
  4. Practice Makes Perfect We have all heard this saying before but it is anything but cliché when it comes to landing your dream internship: Practice makes perfect. Practice your Elevator speech, practice interview questions, even practice wearing business attire on a regular basis around campus. That way you are never caught slipping. Having these together will put you in the perfect position to make a great first impression.
  5. Utilize Your University University Tuition goes up every year around the country and yet as students, we all are not even getting our money’s worth. Every campus has an office or an initiative dedicated to helping their students find jobs after college. Often times students do not realize that these same programs can help us secure an internship.  Stop by the Career Services Office often. Ask them to look over your resumes and cover letters. Go to the career fair that you think may be a waste of time. You never know when you could be in the presence of someone who could change your life with the right internship.
  6. Do Not Wait A common misconception about undergraduate internships is that they are only granted to seniors. That misconception could not be any more off. Companies and businesses are looking for fresh new ideas from different perspectives and as an underclassman coming straight out of high school you have a unique perspective, different from someone who is on their way out. Companies and businesses are also looking out for the long term. They want to get underclassmen in their programs that can do the work, are hungry to start, and can become full time after graduation.
  7. Apply, Apply, Apply! Your dream internship could be working for a company you didn’t even know existed. Keep an open mind. Even if you don’t meet all of the requirements or it’s not exactly what you want to do APPLY! anyway. You could have an extra essay written, get some practice in answering application questions or even gain some unexpected connections.
  8. Get Creative If you can’t find your dream internship there is nothing wrong with creating your own. Reach out to someone who is in the position you want to be in and ask them if you can shadow them, add value to what they are already doing, or simply just start with a conversation about their path. When reaching out be professional but personable, tailor your message to the person or company, be prepared to respond fast and follow up. 
  9.  Always look for opportunities to build connection Follow your favorite companies on social media to see when and where they will be having their next networking event. Comment and Like the events as well as their other initiatives. Stalk Eventbrite for free networking events, you’d be surprised at how many are happening not too far from you and your college town.
  10. Invest in Yourself  To secure your dream internship, invest in yourself. Invest your time and money into making this happen. Invest in business attire. You want to dress for the job you want not the job you have. Invest in the right people through networking. Invest in your intellect. Read a book that is not on your syllabus. Lastly, invest in your mindset. Fill your mind with positivity and motivation on a daily basis.

 

Follow these 10 tips and you will have no problems securing your dream internship. Strive for at least 2 during your undergraduate career. Remember internships are opportunities to guide you in your field. The process should be exciting not intimidation. Think and move as if you already have the internship of your dreams and soon you will.