A First Generation Girl's Guide To Landing the Perfect Internship

Regardless of your background, we’ve all been there. We’ve all huddled around our computers begging that someone would either give a call back or email with some remote form of interest toward us. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world, but almost everybody has gone through internship searches.

One of the biggest lessons to learn from internship searching is to not get discouraged when the internship of your dreams is taken right before your eyes. Getting the dreaded “we regret to inform you” email can be gut-wrenching, but one must understand that those kinds of internships require you to surpass more than 10,000 other applicants with similar — or even more suitable — qualifications.

Some of the best tips and tricks that I’ve learned throughout my time in college have been from alumni and people who have gone through the same experience. Some of them might be better than others, but they have guided me through some of the roughest times — especially when I thought I wasn’t good enough for the job of my dreams. Here are four of the best pieces of advice that I can pass on.

1. Always follow up, no matter what people say.

Some applicants think that by following up for a job interview or application status will lead to a company thinking that you’re being pushy. You must be aware, however, of the fact that most employers will see your following up as a sign of tenacity and preparation. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be prepared, and in some cases, it’s proven to make you stick out after being lost in a slew of applications.

2. Connections really do go a long way.

The best job offers can start from a simple connection. Whether you’re part of an organization with a reputation for networking or just a small club, hitting up alumni from your university or friends who work at similar companies can prove to be extremely helpful. Be careful not to expect that a random member of your organization that you’ve never met will go out of their way to help you. Just like any other stranger, they are willing to help out friends, not friends of friends or third connections.

3. Constantly improving your resume is always recommended.

There should never be a time in which you’re not updating your resume. In college, you’re constantly learning new skills, software, and methods of making yourself more desirable in the workforce, so you should portray that to people whenever you can. Keep your resume saved on Google Drive so that you can constantly update your skillset when you need to. Also, you can download the document into PDF form instantly with the click of a button.

4. Kind gestures should never be turned down.

There was a time that I went on a private tour of The New York Times touting a fluorescent orange water bottle. I was in the middle of New York City, and in one of the most intimidating and conservative-looking offices you’ll probably ever see in your life. It was also around 90 degrees in the summer, and though it probably wasn’t the best look to have that huge water bottle in my hand, the Times staff all laughed in agreement that this day was one for the books in terms of heat. As a joke, I offered them a sip of water from my water bottle, and it immediately broke the ice. Remember to always be kind and friendly to people, even when you don’t think it’ll get you further in a potential connection or interview. The best thing you can be is up-front and show off your desirable personality. 

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Cassidy is a soon-to-be graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. While she is currently serving as a Content Editor for the UMass Amherst HC Chapter, she is also a Social Media Intern for Her Campus Media. To reach her, you can find her on Instagram @cassie7350 or Twitter @CassidyKotyla.

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