Internship Tips for the Internship-Less

It’s that time of year again ladies, and for many of you, looking for an internship has never been on the to-do list. But let’s face it, living at home for another summer while working at your woeful part time job, doing the same old same old doesn’t exactly sound like it’s moving you in the right direction towards future career goals.  January through April is prime time for finding an internship for the upcoming summer. Here are a few things you can do to snag one!

1.     Update your Résumé… and don’t be afraid to brag a little.

First and foremost, updating your resume is very important to start your personal internship process off on the right foot.  It’s very possible that you made one when you were in high school, but chances are it’s been a couple years since you’ve even glanced at it. You’re going to want to show your most relevant experiences and make sure to include some other activities that show you are a well-rounded individual. Don't forget to include all those academic clubs! It is best to keep it about a page, but depending on the job you might want to add a little more in order to further demonstrate some of your killer personality. You can also look into downloading a graphic résumé template to make yours stand out stylistically!

2.     Personalize your cover letter… it’s okay to be a kiss up.

This is a much underrated tip for getting an internship.  With so much competition in the internship world, it’s important that your cover letter sets you apart from the rest.  Include information from the company you’re applying to (make sure to check out their website!) that shows you are interested enough to do your research and that you’re going the extra mile to stand out amongst the masses. Also include a little something that will get them to remember you—because girl, you’re awesome.

3.     Perfect your handshake… firm but not too firm.

It’s hard to believe, but your handshake could be the first impression any recruiter or potential boss of yours is looking for. If you don't have a firm handshake they might automatically assume you hold a passive personality type and are not up for the job at hand.  Perfecting your handshake will help make a killer first impression, and get you on your way to scoring an internship position.

4.     Practice your elevator pitch… ready, set, speak!

What is an elevator pitch, you ask? Put simply, it is a short snippet lasting about 30 seconds that tells a potential employer a little about yourself and what you have to offer. Many people are not aware that they are expected to be able to talk about themselves in a way that is going to impress and make others want to listen to them, but believe me, you are! Being able to communicate your selling points will be important for every job interview and for making important job connections later on.

5.     Use eye contact confidently… but not too much.

Eye contact is essential to landing any internship or job.  When you’re in a position to give a potential employer the opportunity to learn more about you, eye contact is majorly important.  It displays confidence in your skills and interest in the person you are talking to.  Your potential employers want you to make them feel comfortable with you and confident in you, too.

6.     Hit up the career fair… because it doesn’t hurt!

One thing to keep in mind is that attending a career fair will never hurt your chances of getting on the internship train.  Networking is the key to finding any sort of job or career these days, and getting your name and face in front of the people in a company can only increase your chances.  Make sure you bring updated copies of your résumé and research any attending companies that you may be interested in beforehand. Once you’re there and talking up your potential employers, they won’t be able to do anything but love you!

7.     Follow up call or thank you note

Any time you turn in an application or attend a career fair, the most courteous thing you can do is express your thanks by means of some sort of thank you.  By calling or writing a thank you of some sort, the person you met with will know you appreciated their time spent talking to you and will then allow them the opportunity to respond if they are interested in you.

8.     Be yourself

As cheesy as it is, being yourself is key to finding the perfect internship for you.  If you are yourself you will be honest about what sorts of things you are looking for, interested in, and will help you find the best fit you could possibly imagine. What could be better than that?

9.     Finally…

Once you get that rock-star internship (because you will) there is nothing else to do but celebrate with a glass of wine or two and relax!