Every college student knows the importance of scoring an internship. Internships allow you to gain hands-on experience, connect with key future career contacts, and establish yourself in your field. Before I got my first internship last summer, the entire process was terrifying and foreign to me. Luckily, I’ve picked up a few helpful things to keep in mind when searching for an internship— enjoy!
The first step to securing a quality internship is to first work on your resume and cover letter. Both your resume and cover letter are massively important documents that will help you stand out in the employment process. Your resume should feature your past work experience, your skills and strengths, and any extracurriculars or awards you want to showcase. I personally believe that with a resume, less is more. If an employer can read all about me in my resume, they’ll be less excited to ask me in person in an interview. Because of this, I only feature the very most important things and leave out the information that can be expanded on in an interview. To improve your cover letter, be sure to include important information about why you would be the best fit for the position in question. Additionally, don’t be afraid to draft the letter multiple times, or to ask others their opinion on how it sounds. I find that with things like cover letters, a second pair of eyes can really help elevate yours from the rest.
My second tip for getting an internship is to use websites like LinkedIn or Handshake, both of which helped me tremendously in my internship search. Job websites make it so easy to find and apply for internships, usually allowing you to do it all in one click. These websites also allow you to search for internships and jobs by keyword, which helped speed up the searching process for me by a mile. Lastly, I loved how centralized the entire process was when I used these websites, because everything was in one place, which easily allowed me to check up on my past applications at any time. Overall, investing the time to create a profile on any job website will help you speed up the process in the end immeasurably. Lastly, the important thing I learned is to remember that through this process, your opinion is just as important as your prospective employers’. As much as they are interviewing you, you are interviewing them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the environment, expectations and workload. This entire process is mutual and should be equal between both parties: you and the employer. Stay positive and keep searching, because you will find an employer whose mission and work fits yours!
In conclusion, internships are a landmark of the college experience. While you apply for positions this season, be sure to be persistent and keep these tips in mind to help you on your journey. While we often glamorize the internship experience, the most important thing in the end is that you get an internship that fits you and your goals best. Happy searching!