10 Tips to Score Your Dream Internship
1. Research, Research, Research
A big part of landing an internship is to know about the company you want to work for beforehand. Research the company’s goals, what they are about, what you can contribute, and what you can learn from working with them. After researching, incorporate the goals and needs of the company with what you could bring to them. This will eventually show them that you are exactly what they want.
Before filling out any applications, make sure you have valid, applicable experience for the company you want to work for. This experience could come from class projects, volunteer work, or other school activities. You never know what club could give you the additional experience you need to land your dream job.
3. Update Resume and Cover Letter
You should have a different cover letter for each company you apply to. Modify the cover letter to each specific company, and incorporate words that they use in their job listing or on their website to show you are ready to be a part of the team. Although your resume doesn’t change as much for each company you apply to, be sure it is updated with current, relevant information whenever you do something new. Before you send them off, make sure your resume, cover letter, and application (if required) are error free.
4. Mock Interview
Participating in a mock interview is good practice, and a way to get over your fear of interviews. This is the time to prepare answers to common interview questions so you’ll be ready for the real interview. Your school’s career services usually provide these, and you can participate in mock interviews as many times as you want. Practicing in the mirror or recording your responses to questions helps too.
Networking is very important in any industry. There are a lot of businesses that invite schools to their events. Take part in those, and be sure to have plenty of copies of your resumes and/or business cards ready to hand out. These people are your connections. Connect with them on LinkedIn, invite them to discuss their job or offer you career advice over coffee, and send a note to thank them for their time after. Keep in touch with them, because they could be your key to getting you that important interview or an introduction down the road.
6. Be Confident
Confidence is one of the first things people see. Mock interviews with family or friends, again, are a good tool for you to practice getting over your feeling of uncertainty. Just remember, in an interview, you are talking about yourself. You know what you have done and you know why you’re here, so don’t overthink!
7. Be Open to Different Positions
It is important to realize that you may not get the position you want right away. Even if it is not your first choice, consider taking the job as a way to get your foot in the door. This will give you a wider range on different aspects of the company. Plus, the more you know, the better. Don’t let a different position discourage you. Be the best you can at this job, and work your way up. When it shows that you’ve succeeded in the first position, you’ll be where you want in no time.
8. Be Clear About Your Availability
Your location is one of the first things employers look at. If you are in the same area as where you want to work, then that’s a green light. If you are not, be sure to let the employer know that you will be relocating or commuting. You should put this in your cover letter, too. Be clear about your days and hours of availability, and if you have more availability during the summer or other vacation periods, let the company you’re applying to know, because that is when most students want internships.
9. Ask Follow up Questions
You should always have a few questions prepared for when the interview is over. This shows that you are interested in how things are done around the company, and are ready to learn more.
10. Thank You Email
It is very important to send a thank you email after the interview. Make sure you get your interviewer’s business card or contact information before the interview is over. Don’t wait more than a day to send it, and in the email, don’t just thank them for their time, but remind them how committed and passionate you are about the internship possibility. Add something important you said during the interview, since that will show them you are dedicated and hopeful that a favorable decision will be made.