First steps can be scary, especially when you are walking into your possible future career. Thankfully, internships can help get your foot in the door and get a better idea of what it’s actually like to work in your desired field. The better the internship, the better experience you are going to gain, and the better it’ll all come together on your resume. So, here’s a few tips to help you find the right internship for you.
Define Your Objective
Finding the best internship possible is key to your future success. However, it should be stressed you should look for your perfect internship. The largest company or best brand name isn’t always the most important factor. You should find something that you are excited about and related to your interests.
Before you begin your search, figure out what you want to get out of your internship: whether it be resume building, learning certain skills, or working in a specific field. Take these into account when considering which internships to apply for and which ones will take priority in your search.
Make sure that you are not influenced too much by others. It is often best to go against the grain of where other people want to work in order to stand out in a smaller pond. Much of the time lesser-known companies can offer better internships because they are more freeform and allow you to work in multiple areas. Take all of these factors into account when deciding where you want to intern.
Research and Prepare Yourself
Now that you have identified what you are trying to achieve, you can start researching companies in your area that may be a good fit. Search LinkedIn to see what professionals you and your contacts know who might be working in a field that you’re interested in. You can even filter out people based upon their workplace and area of expertise to find those that are more tailored to your needs.
Also, look up companies you find interesting to find out what they are doing in your area and whether or not they have any positions available. After you’ve identified companies you would want to work for, look internally at your own resume and see what needs work. Proofreading and updating your resume often helps to maintain an up-to-date and impressive profile for possible future employers.
Here’s a few tips to help with the process:
- Use concise and to-the-point language to get your message across; think of each bullet point organized as task, action and result.
- If you can, try to list your goals and achievements in different positions. This way, it’s easy for the recruiter to see exactly what you accomplished.
- Include any sort of portfolio or other body of work that might pertain to the position that you are applying for.
- Make sure to tailor your resume to the specific internship that you are applying for. Don’t be afraid to create multiple resumes based on the employer.
Hopefully, these tips will help to polish your resume into a thing of beauty.
Get Your Name Out There
Once you have manicured your resume, you’re ready to talk to some humans! Networking is important for finding a job, but for an internship, it’s even more essential. Think about your current network and anyone who works in the field or has business connections in the area. Just remember that you can ask a lot of people but try not to step on too many toes or make people think that you’re just utilizing them for their connections. It’s always best to have friends first and then expand your network from there.
If you can get referred by someone for a position, then you’re automatically three steps ahead of the next applicant. Leveraging your connections is important, but also don’t be afraid to apply a bit more blindly to some internship opportunities (especially if it’s a smaller company). Oftentimes, there’s actually a lot fewer people applying than you think.
Interview to Impress and Engage
So, you’ve got an interview. Now what?
Here are some things to consider before walking through the doors of your future employer:
- Dress to impress. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Even if the interview is more casual it’s never bad to look nice.
- Just like any interview, make sure that you have an expansive knowledge of the company before you go in. Try to think of a few lesser-known tidbits that you can impress them with.
- Also, depending on the company culture of the organization, try to think about how you will mesh with the atmosphere of the corporation.
- Prepare by thinking of potential questions or concerns that you may have regarding the position. Most interviewers will allow you some time to ask questions of your own and it’s often helpful to get these answered during the interview.
While interviewing, your demeanor is especially important. Unless they are extremely professional, try to think of the interview as more of a conversation with someone that you’d like to work with.
Being relaxed, friendly and approachable is extremely important. If they like you before they want to hire you, then you have a much better shot of landing the position. Just try not to be explicitly informal. And always remember that confidence is key- just don’t be too cocky.
Your New Classroom
Congratulations! You have the position! Now that you’re there, make sure you take advantage of the opportunity that you have been provided. Time to break out of your shell and do as much as possible while you’re there. Try to learn a ton and figure out if this is something that you actually want to do with your life. The perfect internship teaches you the things you never would have expected. Good luck!
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