One of the biggest goals in the early stages of our careers is to land an internship, but there are some steps you must take before you apply. There are several things to do when applying for internships such as: researching companies, preparing for interviews, resume updates, etc. In the early stages of my search for an internship I thought I had mastered everything. In fact, I thought my resume and interview skills were excellent. Later, I learned that wasn’t the case and that it needed improvement.
Career services can help you with your resume, career advice and internship help. When I used to apply for internships early on, I hardly received interviews, so I had a career advisor help me restructure my resume. The advisor provided me with advice on how to improve my resume, and then I started receiving more interviews. Next, the career center helped me with the interview process by simulating a real-life interview and afterwards provided me with feedback on what I did good and what to improve. As a college student, I found it very helpful to visit the career services center on campus for assistance.
It is always good to do some research on employers’ internship programs because some start recruiting a year in advance versus others. Besides researching, when employers open internship applications, look over their mission statement, company culture and fundamental things about the company. Don’t be scared to make suggestions in the interview based off the research you did and make recommendations for improvement. This makes you stand out as a candidate, and also displays that you were prepared.
Another thing to keep in mind on your search for an internship is to always search year-round because some employers post fall internships in the spring and vice versa. Also, make it a biweekly or monthly habit to search for internships because sometimes an employer can suddenly need an intern, and it might not get filled because no one applied, so that internship gets canceled. Then some employers post all their internships for the coming year all at once and then close them, which could limit your opportunity to apply for that employer. Also, use every job search tool for internships because some employers post internships on certain job search channels.
Don’t get discouraged early on if you don’t get invited for an interview or if you were not selected for the internship. Ask for feedback, continue to improve your skills and keep applying for internships. A final reminder is to always actively search for internships, network, do research and use any resource available to you as a student.