Top 5 Tips for Securing Your Ideal Internship
1. Know what you want and what’s important to you
Choosing the company and type of position for your internship will take some time and thought. For some people, landing an internship at a high profile company is their main goal, while other people may prefer interning at a smaller company that offers excellent training and responsibility. Perhaps your main reason for interning is to figure out if this particular industry is the right choice for your future career.
Whatever your reason for seeking an internship is, you need to be aware of it before you can find a company and internship program that matches your needs. This includes the amount of hours you’ll be able to dedicate each week and if you are willing or able to relocate for your dream internship.
2. Use your resume to highlight your strengths and internship objectives
When applying for an internship, focus on your unique strengths in order to stand out from the other applicants. In addition to listing your academic achievements, your resume should include an area that clearly explains your objective for seeking this particular internship. This means customizing your resume for each opportunity you are applying for. Be sure to focus on your strongest skills and list them prominently in your resume instead of summarizing them at the end of the document. These may include your knowledge of various computer programs and software, your time management skills, teamwork experience and other skills. Of course, always have a friend or two proofread your resume for typos before you submit it.
3. Start early and do your research
Many great internship programs either begin to interview candidates months in advance or only conduct interviews a few times a year. You can speak with your faculty advisor or your college’s career center to learn more about the internship opportunities available in your area that are specific to your major. You can also find great internship opportunities at job fairs or by searching the Internet. If there is a particular company you are really interested in interning for, contact them directly to learn more about their internship programs and application requirements.
4. Always follow up after your interviews
Something as simple as a handwritten thank you note or courteous email can go a long way in establishing your professionalism. Even if you don’t end up getting the internship, you never want to leave a future potential employer or networking resource with a bad impression. Who knows when your paths may cross again in the business world?
5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get a clearer idea of what the internship entails
Working for your “dream” company will quickly turn into a nightmare if your internship is limited to filing paperwork and getting your boss coffee. Ask questions about the general day-to-day tasks or projects you’ll be working on, who you’ll be reporting to, travel requirements, and any other concerns you have about the internship. You should also perform independent research on the companies you are applying to in order to determine if they are a good match for you and your internship goals.