Internships: What to Do & How to Get Them
It's January, so it's internship season. College readers can especially understand the stress and nerves that come with applying to internships and trying to get your resume to the top of the pile. No matter if you're interning at a family owned business or a fortune 500 company, internships are an important addition to your resume, especially when you begin looking for a full time job after college.
First, let's talk about what internships are exactly. Internships are jobs where students work for a particular organization to help learn about a certain profession and gain experience in a particular field. Sometimes, these jobs are taken on without pay while others offer pay or college credit.
Now, let's cover why they're so important. Well, many employers, especially those in popular or competitive fields, look for applicants who have professional experience with a similar job. These internships can also teach you things you might not learn in the classroom and they put your previously learned skills to the test. Lastly, internships introduce you to important people and help you make great contacts for the future.
Your Resume - The first way any employer will get to know you is through a resume, so make sure to make yours great. One way to do this is to make yours stand to from the pile. I personally stuck with a sleek black and white resume, but it has a captivating layout and when lined up with other resumes, it stands out. Your resume shouldn't include anything from high school on it. Truth be told, nobody cares. Employers care more about what you've accomplished in college and what you're doing currently. When it comes to what to add to your resume, make sure to include your contact information, your previous employment, your academic credentials, what you're involved in in school, skills, and references.
Cover Letter - Cover letters are just as important as your resume. A cover letter is a formal letter that further explains your resume's listed skills and experience. This is a one page letter and should connect your skills and experiences to the particular job you're applying to. You should not send the same cover letter to each job. Every cover letter should be different and address each job differently.
Use Connections - Sometimes you have to use your connections to get internship contacts. Ask your family if they know anyone in X field they can connect you too. Even your part-time job manager might recommend you to a friend or a higher up in their company. I've even come to learn that if you get to know professors enough, they will connect you to colleagues or past co-workers. It's okay to ask for help, just make sure if someone recommends you for a position that you live up to the employer's expectation because you are a reflection of whoever recommended you.
LinkedIn - LinkedIn is an online social media site designed to help you connect with those in different professions and search for jobs. It's a great tool to use to make connections with companies and find a plethora of internships in a short amount of time. You can connect with fellow students, co-workers, your superiors, and neighbors. You can express your interests, follow companies you admire, save jobs you're interested in, and share your skills. It's a great resource to have even when you're just interested in searching jobs and learning about different companies.
Following Up - Lots of times you will submit an application with your resume and not hear anything back from the company. Oftentimes, this isn't the end of the road with said company. Many organizations like to see persistence and determination in applications and look for a followup to see who really wants the job. It's okay to follow up with an organization about two weeks after your application is submitted. Just checking in to show your drive goes a long way with many brands.
These are just a few tips to adopt when looking for internships this spring and summer. Keep in mind, it's still a little early for summer internship positions to be filled and many companies are still sifting through stacks of resumes. You still have plenty of time to get those resumes and applications into your dream brands and companies before the door closes. Best of luck this internship application season!