It’s hard to think about the dog days of summer when parts of the U.S. are buried by historic records of snow, but believe it or not, now’s the time to start working on your summer internship.
Recruiting for internships at many large firms has already begun, and even if your target company hasn’t started recruiting yet, it’s important to prepare yourself, and get a sense of your options.
Finding an internship between your academic years is crucial for a number of reasons:
So what does it take to get the internship you want? MPOWER offers four key steps to help increase your chances of landing the experience you want.
Step #1: Create a solid resume.
Your resume should tell your story and focus on why the business should hire you. While resume styles and approaches vary, your number one goal is to sell your skills in a direct, honest way.
Need a little support in what to put in your resume and how to structure it?
Step #2: Know your focus.
Hone in on what field you want to explore, and if possible, the specific organization that would be your ideal target.
Not sure yet of where you want to be? That’s ok, too. Start by determining the field you want to explore (finance, healthcare, international development, etc.). Then, focus on what kind of organization you’re interested in (small or large, for-profit or non-profit, etc.).
Don’t forget to ask others who’ve gone through this already and leverage their expertise. The professionals at your career center help students find internships and jobs on a daily basis; ask for their input. You also can talk to professors whose classes interest you, professionals you admire, and more experienced students to get their insights.
Reach out to people you know or find on LinkedIn for informational interviews. Most people are willing to give 15 to 30 minutes of advice and guidance.
Step #3: Go for it. Apply.
Once you have a prepared resume and know where you’d like to intern, it’s time to take the steps to make it happen.
Make sure that once you are ready to press send and apply, that you’re doing so skillfully and thoughtfully. Tailor your cover letter for each position. Avoid these common mistakes. And, proofread, proofread, proofread: Have someone review it before you send it out.
If you know someone who works at the organization where you want to apply, reach out to them in case they can offer guidance or recommend you to the hiring managers.
Apply for a number of internships. Some internships are very competitive and receive thousands of applications; so have a few backup plans (and don’t take it personally if you don’t get called for an interview).
Step #4: Be patient… but proactive.
Once you’ve applied to an internship, be patient and wait to hear if you have been invited to interview. Response rates can vary so don’t get discouraged.
While you’re waiting, explore creative ways to draw some attention to your application and prepare for a possible interview. Seek out people who have had the internship before and get their advice (see MPOWER Pro Tip 1 for how). Send a handwritten note to the hiring manager/organization, thanking them for considering your application. Brush up on the company, its mission, philosophy and latest news in preparation for the interview.
Follow these tips, and with any luck, you will be well on your way to securing the internship of your dreams.
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Clear, informative, simple. Could I send you some e-hugs?