There’s a lot to consider when pursuing your first internship: from building your personal brand and developing your resume to effectively communicating your strengths and experiences. That’s why we asked some of Deutsche Bank’s recruiters what advice they’d give students looking to break into the world of financial services. They offered some great ideas about how to differentiate yourself to land an internship, and below are their top tips.
1. Build a brand, tell your story
People will build an idea of what you stand for based on your words and actions. Are you sharing interesting content? Creating your own? Keeping your photos professional? Potential employers use everything from Facebook to publications to build a detailed image of candidates. In this connected job market, building a personal brand can sometimes take you further than a traditional resume. Not sure where to start? The bank’s recruiters have three key pointers to get you going:
- Establish yourself. Top brands have unique characteristics that differentiate them in the market. This goes for personal brands as well. Identify your strengths and ambitions and outline a set of values, behaviors, and beliefs to create your brand persona. This will help guide your personal branding efforts and keep you consistent. Once you have your persona in place, you could secure a personal URL and create a simple, professional website where you can link to any publications you contribute to and your social media profiles. If you have a common name, it might be time to start using a middle name, or even just an initial to set yourself apart and help secure that URL.
- Survey your social media. We are all defined by our digital footprint. Take a look at the photos and content you’re posting on social media. Do they accurately reflect how you want to be seen by employers? Keep your accounts professional and understand that your photos and posts are part of your brand, whether they reflect your career ambitions or not. Employers will be viewing your profiles, so do an audit of your social presence and remove anything that will leave a negative impression. When it comes to establishing your brand, clean social content is key.
- Think like a thought leader. Your school’s newsletter, your club’s blogging platform, your favorite social channels—if you have opinions on the industry, utilize the platforms to make them known. Use them regularly to develop your voice and create content that will build your reputation.
2. Aim to impress with your application
Just because you’ve built a strong brand, it doesn’t mean you can rest when it comes to your resume and applications. Being detail-oriented and keeping an eye towards where you want to be in the future is key. Keeping your long-term goals in mind and tailoring your applications to relevant internships will move you in the right direction. Stay on track with these simple rules:
- Keep it real. Stay ambitious, but make sure you don’t “bend” the truth or exaggerate your accomplishments for a role that’s out of your reach. What’s more, if you accept an offer and then decline it to pursue another opportunity—an action called reneging—you could jeopardize future opportunities at that firm, your dream offer, and even the personal brand you worked so hard to build. Integrity is everything in a regulated industry like banking. Confident and ethical decision making will unlock the right opportunities and help maintain your consistent personal brand.
- Keep it relevant. Your experience is important and so is how you explain it. If you were a club president, excelled at a relevant class project, or volunteered during the summer, think of ways to tie these experiences to your application. What was the impact of your work? How has it taught you the skills you need to succeed in your internship? If these experiences don’t directly connect to banking, focus on what skills are transferable and draw parallels where you can.
- Keep your skills sharp. Look over the skills and abilities you outlined on your resume. Now take a look at job postings and what employers are asking for. Do your skills stack up? Identify areas where you might be lacking and what you can do to get up to speed. Volunteer for relevant organizations, take a class, or attend events to help build your skillset and learn from industry professionals or alumni.
3. Clear communication is critical
You’ve made it to the interview stage—now it’s time to let your insight and experience do the talking. Preparation, confidence, and a strong interview strategy will help you build rapport with your interviewers and showcase your skills under pressure. Prove yourself with these three interview essentials:
- Prep and poise. To know your resume inside out, be sure to remember the details of previous experiences or projects. Don’t take your knowledge for granted and be ready to speak about your accomplishments with confidence. Make the case for what you believe and what you’ve achieved.
- Short and sweet. In banking, it’s important to get information across quickly and maximize people’s time. Show off this skill by answering questions succinctly without extraneous detail. And if you feel caught off guard during the interview, take a breath and think of a considered response instead of launching into a story without a clear end.
- Give and take. Listening is just as important to good communication as speaking. Take in the conversation and respond to others thoughtfully. Show you’re fully engaged in the process by referring to points from earlier in the interview or the application process.
When you’re starting out in banking, don’t lose sight of what you stand for, what you’ve accomplished, and where you see yourself in the future. When you know yourself and your brand, you can speak to it confidently and make the connections you need to start your career.
This post was sponsored by Deutsche Bank.
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