Summer means a lot of things when you’re a student – a break from classes, time off from sharing a tiny dorm room with another person, perhaps a few vacations, and a lot of time poolside. For me, though, summer break in college also meant internships.
Hardly every glamorous, but always rewarding and a great resume boost, I never had a summer in college without at least one internship. These days it seems like you have to have a fully stacked resume to have any hopes in the job market upon graduation.
You may not know exactly what you want to do post-grad, and that’s perfectly okay! A few of my internships solely taught me which industries and roles I wasn’t interested in. Even if you have an internship that ends up being a fairly “blah” experience, the knowledge you gained will still be invaluable – especially to future employers! Even grabbing stacks of coffee is getting you one step closer to that dream job you’ve got your eye on.
I fully believe that you can land any job or internship that you want, as long as you know how to market yourself uniquely for each situation. It’s all about selling yourself as the perfect candidate – even if you don’t have any experience yet in that field!
There are a few simple tips to keep in mind during your job hunt that will significantly improve your chances of scoring that dream internships and adding another piece to your resume!
1. The Groundwork – Everyone knows that you should research a company a little before an interview with them, but I like to begin the process before even filling out my applications. Checking out their LinkedIn pages, Twitter and Facebook will give you some insight that you wouldn’t otherwise gain on the company. Perhaps they’ve even shared profiles of previous interns! Discovering which companies you can best market yourself as the best candidate is step number one.
2. Become the Perfect Fit – One of the reasons companies love interns is that they’re still un-molded and a lot more teachable. Make your inexperience an asset! You likely don’t have much practice or background in whatever field you’re applying (hello, how could you?!) but that’s not what you should highlight to the employer. Focus on the qualities you know their company searches for, and repeatedly explain & demonstrate to them why you would be a great person to quickly learn and adapt to what they’re searching for.
3. Be Gracious – Employers won’t be impressed by someone who thinks that they’re above the stereotypical “intern” duties – like taking everyone’s coffee order, ensuring that the big boss has a crisp diet coke in the fridge at all times (yes, this was seriously a task of mine as an intern once!), or jotting down basic notes about anything and everything. You have to start somewhere, and if you seem like the kind of person who will have a great attitude about every single task assigned to you and a smile on your face, it won’t matter if you’ve had one internship or 20 prior to this role.
4. Keep it Old School – You likely are already told this, but thank you notes seriously do make a difference. I always write a thank you email within an hour of ending an interview and include some sort of anecdote or comment that relates back to our conversation so that I’m more memorable. I also always follow-up with a handwritten note that I mail. True story – In an office I was in, an applicant wrote a thank you note that the manager received a few days after the interview, and he went to go through his notes just to ensure that he had in fact given that applicant a job offer because he was so impressed. The little things make a big difference!
*Hint – if you aren’t sure where to find your interviewer’s address – simply address it to them at the office location with ATTN: (their name). The company will be able to track them down, I promise!
If you have any other questions or want more advice about landing an internship, what to wear, or interviews, don’t hesitate to comment or shoot me an email using the contact form on the right sidebar! I’m always happy to help!