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Tips On Turning Your Dream Internship into Reality

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

Whether you are a sophomore, junior, or senior, applying to your dream job postings can be a nerve-wracking rite of passage into the professional world. Lucky for you, Her Campus Temple is bringing you the best tips, tricks, and resources for ensuring your success! 

The spring semester is coming to a long-awaited end. Deadlines, time-consuming projects, and final grades weigh heavily on students’ minds while they prepare to wrap up their course loads. However, if you’re looking to start networking and potentially dip your feet into your field of choice this summer, you might have another set of priorities on your mind. It’s anxiety-inducing, new, and unfamiliar if you’ve never interviewed for a professional internship or job. Coupled with the stress that this time of year promises, it can seem like an overwhelming, endlessly daunting challenge. Yet, if you prepare, and most importantly, have confidence in yourself and your abilities, you’ll be gaining experience in your chosen workforce in no time! 

Thankfully, at Temple University, there is an abundance of resources to bolster your resume and help you feel more prepared for the application process. Namely, the Career Center is the perfect place to start. Perhaps you’re unsure about what field you want to enter, or maybe you have your version of success completely mapped out and need someone to show you the next steps to take. Either way, there are career counselors, advisors, and countless other faculty members who want to help you achieve your wildest dreams. The first step to flying out of the nest is to start somewhere. So, build your resume, root out your talents, and talk to your university’s career-building experts to answer any questions you may pose. Ultimately, you are the only person who can guarantee your success, but that doesn’t mean that everybody doesn’t need a little bit of guidance here and there! 

1. Utilize the resources at your disposal to create your perfect resume 

Temple University offers a variety of workshops that will help you perfect any profile, resume, or cover letter. In these workshops, experts in your discipline will describe how to correctly format your experience, discuss your skills, and make you look like a certified pro! The documents you submit to a potential employer are the essence of your personal brand. First impressions are extremely important, so I suggest you don’t take writing documents, like your resume and cover letters, lightly.  

To begin, the Career Center’s online resources are a great place to get familiar with resume-building and what experience and qualities should be included within your own. After you’ve covered the basics, enroll in one of Temple’s previously mentioned workshops to fine-tune the different aspects that will come together to create your impressive, unique resume. Then, it’s time to get to writing and designing! Once you feel ready to share your resume, either submit it to experts in your college or stop by the Career Center in person to get valuable feedback. Synthesize expert feedback and add personal touches to polish your work and make it your own!  

2. Get to know your strong suits along with the career you desire 

This is arguably the most important step in applying for positions. Yes, you picked your major and took the classes that interest you, but now it is time to make a decision with a bit more weight behind it. Your career will ideally involve something that is personally fulfilling, so find what drives you and inspires your passions! Ensure that you can envision yourself completing that job every day because success takes time, effort, and dedication- and it’s hard to dedicate yourself to a career you don’t truly love. For instance, I was a journalism major but couldn’t imagine myself working on a 24-hour news cycle. After talking to my own college’s Career Center, I was able to deduce that I needed a better outlet for my creativity, so I went into advertising! Find that niche that your gut feeling agrees with. After all, you’re in college — this is the prime time to figure out exactly what your skill set is and what you enjoy! 

Once you know what you want, go out and get it! Search on job-hunting platforms like Handshake or your own school’s resources. For instance, the Klein College of Media and Communication has the Klein Connect portal that will help you find and apply to internship and job postings with ease. Make sure that you carefully read the description for each posting and check that its requirements align with what you want from a position. Do you want to work remotely? Are you willing to commute to an office part-time? Or are you looking for a full-time, in-person career? It is necessary to not only find a position that you qualify for but to find a position that works for your unique schedule and needs. If you need to compromise on some aspects, figure out what you’re willing to sacrifice and what is a deal breaker. Maybe you don’t mind commuting 15 miles away, but you need a solid salary to support yourself. What you need in your career is your decision, so consider exactly what those needs are.  

3. Communicate, communicate, communicate! 

There is one surefire way that any student can make their application stand out from the crowd — communicating. Many applicants will submit their resumes and be done with their application, but you don’t want to blend into the crowd. Recruiters and hiring managers that are reading your applications want somebody that knows what they want and how to get it. Nothing shows that more than when you contact the companies you’re applying to directly. After you submit your application, shoot an email to whoever will be reviewing submissions, likely a hiring manager. Thank that person for their time, emphasize your interest, and mention that you’re looking forward to corresponding further. Can you find employers and executives of the company on LinkedIn? Polish up your profile and ask to connect with a brief message describing your interest in your position of choice. Always go the extra mile if possible because employers are looking for just that. 

Unfortunately, everybody must endure that upsetting moment when they don’t get the job they go after. However, don’t let this get you down! Any rejection is just an opportunity for growth. So, if you didn’t make it to the interview stage, reach out and ask how you can stand out in future applications. If you secured an interview but weren’t able to seal the deal, don’t fret, rather, write to the person who interviewed you, and thank them for speaking with you. Being courteous and showing grace even when you don’t get what you want, shows that you’re a mature individual who could potentially make a great employee. Don’t burn bridges, but instead build networking connections and maintain them — trust me, it will pay off! 

Although the tips above will certainly help any student prepare for the application process, there is one trait that will catch any employer’s attention — authenticity. Don’t put up a front just to seem qualified or prepared. Be humble, willing to learn, and confident in your character and existing abilities. You’re probably tired of hearing this, but honesty truly is the best policy. So don’t just fake it ‘til you make it, but show your sincerity. After all, you’re applying to people, not just companies, so don’t hide your humanity. 

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Elise Priest

Temple '24

Hey! My name’s Elise, I’m a junior journalism major with a passion for all things environmental. I also have a huge soft spot for metal music, cats, and painting!