Easter is a time for gathering with family and sharing what is new in one another’s lives. Of course, every time you go home you anticipate the generic questions from all of your extended family, “When was the last time you ate a real meal?”, “Is there a guy in the picture?”, “Are you ready to get a big girl job?”, “What are your plans after graduation?” While all of these repetitive questions sink in, you start to imagine yourself in the “real world” which is quickly approaching. With all of these thoughts on the horizon, reality hits and you begin to think, wow, I really need a summer internship. But, now is not the time to worry, nor is it too late to find the perfect internship that fits you. Before Easter break arrives, here are some words of wisdom to help you find that internship, and finally have a few answers to grandma’s classic questions.
The SearchWhen looking for a summer internship the first thing you need to do is begin the research. This can be the most time consuming and tedious part. Postings are constantly being updated each week, so do not think it is as simple as sitting down for one day and pounding it all out at once. Designate a certain amount of time each week to search and apply. These websites are great for finding internships in the field and location you are specifically looking for.
Resume PerfectionWhen you have found that internship that you think is perfect for you, it is time to get out your resume. This is the point where you need to update and make sure it is professional. Once you think that your resume is at its best, make time to go and get a fresh set of eyes to look at it and give you a second opinion. The WSU Writing Center in Minne Hall specializes in resume editing. Another option is to go to one of your professors during office hours. Most professors are more than willing to help in furthering your career, and give you their years of insight.
Creative Cover LettersWhen you apply for an internship, the description may say that a resume and cover letter is required. This is your one page opportunity to show the hiring department who you really are and let your personality shine through. Your cover letter is what sets you apart from all the other candidates. The outline of this should consist of the person you are addressing, a clever hook, what your skills are and what you can bring to the company, and finish confidently, adding that you will be in touch. The goal of your cover letter should ultimately be to receive an interview.
Professional PortfoliosYour work is your talent, and a hiring professional will want to see it. The less work a company has to do, the better; so having all your work in one place is beneficial. Having an online portfolio allows you to showcase all of your proud work in one professional looking setting. And as college students, we are all tight on cash, so lucky for us there are loads of free websites. These website are free online platforms that allow you to personalize to your liking.
Interview TimeIf you score the interview, you are halfway there! You are branding yourself as an individual, so make sure you present yourself in a professional way. Although this may seem like common sense, it is important to make eye contact, have a firm handshake, and dress as if your father had to approve. Hiring professionals are trained to observe body language, so slouching, crossed arms, disengagement in the conversation, and a lack of smiling will be noticeable. Know the background of the company, as they will ask you questions specific to that particular company. Bring your confidence and your resume and you will nail the interview!
Follow Up ContactWhile it may seem a little forward, it is strongly recommended to follow up with the companies you interview with. A simple thank you can go very far. This shows that you are interested in the position and willing to take the initiative for it. Even if you do not get a job out of it, it is always good to create a relationship for future openings. In many businesses, it is all about networking, the more contacts you have, the better.