Unfortunately, a college degree can no longer guarantee a good job position because competition between graduates only grows. In addition, employers often prefer candidates with internship records in their resumes, which means they already have some industry-related experience.
But finding a decent internship is not an easy task, so we decided to share some ideas on how to get relevant and engaging jobs.
Quantity vs. Quality Approach
Applying for every internship position that catches your eye seems to result in plenty of opportunities. But often, this approach is misleading since each position requires a particular combination of skills that you don't always possess. So, instead of opting into 20 offers, try to focus on 5. But before that, allow some time to consider your interests –– for you will spend many hours doing this work. So, here are some tips to help you narrow down the list of potential employers.
- Check positions that college graduates with your major possess. For example, Business, Communications, or Psychology majors are suitable for the Administrative Assistant position. At the same time, Computer Science and Information Technology courses are an excellent background to start your Software Engineering career.
- Think of your interests. Now think about what tasks will be engaging and motivating for you. Once you choose 2-3 industries, just ignore vacancies that are non-related to those spheres. Also, think of the experience you can already have from participating in student organizations or other non-academic activities in college.
- Don't expect immediate juicy proposals. Start to research local companies or explore opportunities that your college or university offers. And if you come across interesting volunteer positions, apply –– for you need the experience to improve your resume.
Documents to Have at Hand
Every internship application process requires sending at least two documents to your potential employer: a resume and cover letter. Below is more information about each of them and a tip on your online presence as a job seeker.
A resume includes all information an employer needs to know about you: your name and contacts, education, honors, work, and other experience. If this is your first resume, check some useful templates on the internet. And compose it in a way to fit the job description and fulfill required responsibilities. Stress your soft skills (communicational and personal) since you don't have experience yet.
- Cover Letter
A cover letter is not always required, but it's always better to attach it since you can't boast years of experience. And if you can just slightly adjust your resume to fit the company's vacancy, you’ll need to customize every cover letter. And to make it "personalized," do some research about the company. Refer to its recent events and achievements to prove your knowledge and interest. Then don't forget to mention how you can contribute to the brand's success.
- Update Your Social Media Profiles
Many recruiters search for candidates through social media platforms for professionals. And even if you apply with a resume, they often ask you to share your LinkedIn profile. That's why making it look professional is a must. A presentable photo, clear descriptions, and dates, mentioning your academic and extracurricular activities, and a hundred relevant connections make you look reliable and professional. You can also note that you are open to work –– so that recruiters know it.
Where to Search for Internships
By now, you have done the first step towards your career, and it's time to move forward –– look for open internship positions and apply. Here are several recommendations where you can find them.
- Your college career site. Employers can post internship vacancies targeting your college students or graduates. So first of all, check all currently open jobs there. Even if you'll apply but won't succeed, it will be a super valuable experience since you'll have to communicate with recruiters and decision-makers.
- Your professors, classmates, friends, and family. Do you know that recommendations and references work? So don't miss a chance to promote yourself and ask everyone you know for a bit of advice. Chances for success may not be too high, but this tactic can work.
- Job platforms. That's the easiest and probably the most effective way to get your internship. Search the word "internship" in job descriptions and read through the requirements. In detailed information about an internship position, you can notice unknown words, but don't let them confuse you: most official phrases seem more confusing than the responsibilities they describe.
- Companies. That's probably the hardest and time-consuming way. You'll have to spend hours making a list of the companies to reach out to. Then you'll need to find out relevant details to create a personalized message. You can refer to the recent appointment or a team-building event. You can send it by email or on social media –– though there's a slight difference between the two channels. An email will look more official, while a message in LinkedIn or Facebook can connect you to decision-makers directly and get a prompt response.
It's important to monitor your email and social media accounts not to miss the reply from recruiters. Moreover, you need to keep track of each application status and respond immediately to increase your chances of employment.
During an Interview
The last and crucial stage of getting an internship is an interview. Though you will probably be nervous, try to remember these tips when communicating with your recruiter:
- give clear answers not to sound evasive;
- let yourself think for a little if you can't respond immediately –– there's nothing embarrassing;
- don't try to tell interviewers what you think they want to hear, be honest and be yourself.
Landing a decent internship is not as hard as it may seem. You only need to think of interesting spheres, research companies that work in them, create your CV, update the LinkedIn profile and find several vacancies. So, instead of sending tens of poorly relevant applications, try to customize and send out 5-10 replies.