How to Land Your Dream Internship

As we all have worked hard to make connections, build our portfolios, and join new clubs throughout the school year, all of this has a bigger purpose: getting an internship. One of the greatest moments in a college student’s academic career is working so hard and finally getting placement in an internship in their field. While it’s not easy, getting your dream internship is very attainable, even when you feel like you’re not ready. Let’s look at some tips and tricks that can lead you to land that internship.

 

  • Be involved

Probably the most reiterated phrase by every mentor, professor, guest speaker and older college student you may know. They say this because being involved is the key to not only build connections with other people, but skills you can use and talk about in a maybe future internship placement. Being involved gives you an opportunity to also be involved in experiences outside of your major, but still can help you build interpersonal skills and lead you to things you never knew you were interested in.

 

*One tip to add to this first point is while being involved and doing a million different clubs is fun and exciting, it can cause burnout and make you seem all over the place over time. A good rule of thumb is to have one organization related to your major, one that is a hobby, and one out of your comfort zone that allows growth for you personally. This diversifies your resume and allows variety in life.*

 

  • Keep an updated resume

When life gets busy and we’re constantly being the bosses that we are, it’s hard to remember to add new positions and organizations to our resume. However, keeping this up to date allows you to never have to scramble the last minute before an internship fair, surprise opportunity or last minute internship posting. Make sure to keep your resume to a maximum of 1 to 1 1/2 pages. You don’t want to overwhelm the reader with 12 pages. Also, keep a master resume and career focused resume, allowing you to show off the skills you have in your field and give the reader wanting to know more. Keep job and organization descriptions short and concise and use them to focus in on the main goals of your position or organization. Just remember:

ALWAYS stay ready so you don’t have to be ready.

 

  • Start applying early

Companies start looking for interns as early as September for spring and December for summer placements. Keep a close eye on the companies that interest you, their postings, and their LinkedIn pages. A great way to have a leg up is if possible, start looking at an internship a year before so you can see what they’re looking for and when that time comes, you will be the perfect candidate. If that’s not possible because surprise opportunities always come up as a college student, use what you’re already involved in and be proud of the skills you already have.

 

  • Apply even when you feel you're not qualified

We’ve all been there. You’re reading about an internship and feel like you have nothing to offer. DO NOT LET THAT VOICE GET TO YOU. In a world that’s ever changing and always creating new technology, you can feel you’re behind the times and not even prepared to work in your field. These internships are not meant to scare you. You must remember internships are meant to teach you, build your skills and help you grow in your field. While you may not have every skill they list on the internship description, we all have skills in us that make as powerful and different than other candidates. Apply and take a risk. Worse case scenario you won’t hear back from the internship, however you may actually get an interview. Don’t block a huge opportunity due to fear. Believe in yourself.

 

  • Kill the interview

You get a call back to your dream internship. Whether your interview is in person or over video call, all rules apply. Look the part by being clean, professional and wearing something that makes you comfortable and confident. Shake hands with your interviewer and if on video call give eye contact and show a positive presence. Be engaged when the interviewer is talking and ask at least one question about the internship that the interviewer may have not covered. Even if you’re nervous, answer the questions to the best of your ability and believe in yourself. Breathe and relax and let your skills do the work. Be positive and know YOU GOT THIS.

 

Using these skills, you can lead yourself to the internship of your dreams. However, even if you don’t land the internship, you’ve just gained experience in life. Rejection is good because it teaches us to do better and make changes for next time. If you do land the internship, realize you just accomplished something bigger than you ever thought you could. Be proud and realize this is the next big step in your future.