By Laurin Krekling (@LaurinKrekling)
Summer is right around the corner. For most students this means school is about to be over, and summer jobs are going to start up. This is also the time when college students can start to look for internships in order to gain real-world experience and foot in the door. Looking and applying for internships can be a very stressful process, but here are tips on making it better.
Internships are usually highly competitive positions with numerous applicants. Summer internships start appearing as early as first semester. It is never too early to apply. You will be able to have more options when you look this early, which will help you find your dream internship faster and create less stress.
- Getting involved does matter
Get involved with activities as early as you can. Nothing impresses an interviewer more than seeing the numerous activities and/or executive positions you held within different clubs and organizations. This shows a good balance between school and other interests along with leadership skills and much more. This may open the door for other internships through networking with these activities.
Nothing will turn off an interviewer more than an unorganized resume and cover letter with a lot of grammatical errors. Your resume, in many cases, will be making a first. Make sure it is well organized, neat, and error free. Have many people look over your resume for mistakes that you may have not noticed. Get plenty of opinions. Also, make sure it matches up with the internship you are applying for. If you are a graphic designer, for example, you might want a more creative resume. Get opinions, make it stand out, and be confident.
There are numerous ways that you can go about finding an internship.
- School bulletin boards and department websites will advertise available internship. These include the Department of Journalism internship page and UW Oshkosh Handshake.
- Ask faculty if they have any connections with surrounding companies.
- Research companies near you and search their career page. If they do not have one, contact them by email and ask about their summer internship opportunities.
- Search through internship websites such as internships.com, idealist.org, and experience.com.
- Look at corporate or organizational LinkedIn or Facebook pages, or search for opportunities for work or networking.
- You applied and got the interview. Now what?
So you applied for your dream internship and got a call back for an interview. Many places start off with a phone or skype interview. These interviews should be taken as seriously as an in-person interview. Make sure you are prepared. Dressing the part also helps in building your confidence during the phone interview. Stay relaxed.
The next step is usually an in-person interview. Interviews can be very nerve-racking, but it is important to stay calm.
- Come to the interview prepared.
- Dress professionally.
- Come with extra resumes or cover letters.
- Be prepares with questions.
- Know your resume and be able to answer questions about it.
- Most importantly, be yourself.
Internships are a vital part of kick-starting your career. Experience is what companies search for, and internships will give you this head start. Start searching and hopefully you will land your dream internship this summer.