Are you panicking because all of your friends seem have summer internships but you don’t? Have no fear! Now is the time to get an internship — and it’s definitely not too late! With a bit of resumé polishing, planning and putting yourself out there, you can get the internship you want in no time. Follow these tips to better your chances!
1. Write a cover letter
Ugh, the dreaded cover letter — the “optional” file that you’re so tempted to skip over uploading. Hey, if they really wanted one, they would have required it, right? Wrong. I used to hate writing cover letters; it seemed like so much unnecessary work, a generic way of summarizing what’s already on your resumé at best. However, I’ve learned that cover letters can be an opportunity to further distinguish yourself from a pool of other candidates because they allow you to show more of your personality than your resumé does. In your cover letter, you can express certain personality traits that are supported by hard skills you present on your resumé. For example, if the job description calls for someone who is detail-oriented, write about the time you managed a bank account for your student org. Your cover letter is a great place to give examples of real-world experience where you’ve utilized your best traits!
2. Create a website/portfolio
A portfolio site is great for showing off your work, especially if you’re in the creative industry. Whether it’s graphic design, work you’ve done for class, articles you’ve written or any projects you’ve completed in or out of the classroom, a website is a great way to organize your work. An online portfolio allows employers to see a more holistic picture of you than just what’s on your resumé, and it’s more compact than attaching 10 additional files to an online job application. Adding a link to your portfolio site to your resumé will help you stand out; it will allow employers to see another dimension of you.
3. Be Unique
Showing that you’re “unique” on a seemingly generic job application is easier said than done. You want to stand out from all the other people in your school and in your major, right? Rather than making a laundry list on your resumé of every club you’ve ever been in or every place you’ve been employed, hone in on a few special ones. You might not think an accomplishment is relevant to the job; but if it helps positively distinguish you from the other candidates, my best advice is to include it. Maybe it’s a foreign language for which you’ve been taking class for a few years, or maybe it’s the fact that you’re certified in CPR; whatever the case, recruiters will remember you more if you have some sort of unique element on your resumé. Short answer questions on an application are also a great way to showcase your individualism. In these cases, it’s best to write about your experiences as truthfully as possible, rather than what you think the recruiter wants to hear. Have fun with the questions, and make sure to highlight what makes you who you are!
4. Revamp your LinkedIn
If you don’t already have a LinkedIn, now’s the time to set one up. Although not having a LinkedIn won’t necessarily harm your chances of getting the internship you want, building up your profile will allow potential employers to quickly and conveniently find information about you. Plus, if you’re looking for jobs in the marketing or digital fields, it’s always good to have an online presence and show that you’re connected. You can link your work samples (and even your website) to your profile, and add things that might not have fit on your resumé or in your cover letter. LinkedIn is also a great way to find jobs, connect with people who have jobs you’re interested in, and build your professional networks. If you have questions about a job application, oftentimes the recruiter can be found on the company’s profile, and you can shoot them a quick InMessage if you need help. There’s never anything wrong with sending a polite, friendly message, whether it’s to ask questions or express general interest.
5. Pick an internship you’re passionate about
You should be looking for jobs/internships that help your long-term goals; but, as cliché as it sounds, make sure they’re also relevant to the work you enjoy doing. Writing a cover letter about how enthusiastic you are about a company is going to be a whole lot easier if you actually are. Rather than sending out applications to a million random companies out of fear that you won’t get hired, focus on and put your best effort into applying to jobs you’re really interested in. Ultimately, it takes only one good application (and a few other steps) for you to get the internship you want. Plus, if you do happen to land an internship, you’ll want it to be at a place where you’ll fit in with the company culture; that way, you can really focus on doing work that benefit your future career. You’ll be much happier if you’re somewhere you truly enjoy working; don’t choose an internship solely because you think it will “look good” on a resumé.
If you’re stressed out about finding the internship of your dreams, don’t be. There’s still plenty of time for you to put your best foot forward and to find something you’re truly passionate about. Make sure to try my five tried-and-true tips to up your chances of success in the summer job search!