1. Revamp your resume –Whether you’re putting it together for the first time or editing it for the one-hundredth, taking the time to work on your resume is the first step toward any kind of employment. Recent studies have shown that employers take a matter of mere seconds to initially review a resume and decide if that candidate is worth taking any more time to consider. With such a short period of time to make an impression, you better be sure you have an eye-catching resume. Include all the information you find relevant to your prospective employer but keep it concise – very few college resumes should exceed a single page. You can use Penn State Career Services as a resource if you feel lost!
2. Keep your options open – Though there’s nothing wrong with having a dream job or internship as an ultimate goal, keeping an open mind along the way will make finding employment a lot easier. Begin your search with those near your area and most closely related to your major but don’t stop looking once you exhaust those options. Consider other areas that you may be interested in gaining more experience and would be able to benefit you in your future career aspirations. There’s nothing wrong with accepting an internship outside your specific major and being a well-rounded individual with a variety of extensive skills is always a plus for employers.
3. Be proactive – Unless you have a major connection with the CEO, I can pretty much guarantee no company is going to hand you an internship. We’re big kids now and as depressing as it may seem, the days of having everything done for us are over. The good news? We have the freedom to choose what we want to pursue. When it comes to internships, it pays to plan ahead. Reflect on your interests, form future goals and begin researching the companies that catch your eye. Once they release their open positions, apply as soon as possible. Many companies operate on a first-come first-served basis so it never hurts to submit it early. The process can be a bit overwhelming but being proactive will help you prepare for when its crunch time.
4. Perfect your pitch – The dreaded “pitch” – you know, that 30-second elevator speech that’s supposed to cover every reason why you are the ideal candidate for the position? As much of a pain as it may be, it’s a valuable tool for prospective employees. Time is money in our modern world and employers don’t want to waste a single second on people they don’t believe possess the proper skills for the position. Your pitch should include who you are, your area of expertise and why you are the right fit for their company. Just like your resume, keep it concise but don’t be afraid to add a little personality – nobody wants to hire a robot. To warm up you can check out this Harvard Business Review blog for tips on how to get started. Sell yourself, and be confident.
5. Do your homework – Out of all the advice I’ve been given regarding internships, I’ve probably heard this one the most. No matter how qualified you may be, the only way your skills are going to matter is if you know your stuff. Never go into an interview without having a knowledgeable background of the company and position you are applying for first. Go to their website, review their recent work and be sure to communicate to the employer why you chose their company over the many other ones of which you could have applied. There’s no better way to prepare than by doing a little research and the knowledge you gain through it will greatly benefit you when it’s time for the interview.