With today’s global economy being the driver for many industries, it’s essential for intern applicants to place a strong emphasis on knowledge of current events. It’s important to know about societies outside US borders and communicate that you’re open to long-term commitments. A proven track record of flexibility and being a quick study will also augment your chances at being the pick of the litter. But there’s a lot more than looking and sounding “right” for the job.
If everything you present in your application looks perfectly tailored to that company, they won’t see the authentic “you.” Companies offering internships should be able to determine you have essential skills. Making your application uniquely yours will get you to the interview. This is where in-depth knowledge about your industry will put you out in front.
If you know you want to intern but still haven’t figured out which company, find out where your classmates are applying. Discuss options with your guidance counselor and don’t discount choices that are telecommuting or abroad. With due diligence, any number of internships you may not consider based on location could be your ticket to obtaining a uniquely valuable experience. International experience, learning a new language, and/or understanding different cultures can augment your résumé tremendously.
If you’re considering where you want to go, think about a location you’d like to be when you finish college. Landing an internship with your dream firm allows you to build rapport with people on the inside. When you show them that you’re hard working, a creative problem solver, and someone who’s not scared to come in early and stay late, you’re actively showing them that you intend to stick around. Make sure the powers that be are aware you’re willing to work for the company while you complete your degree. They need to know that you’re pursuing a long-term working relationship within their ranks.
Whether you’re interested in an internship in San Francisco or Madrid, a rural agricultural hub or right around the corner, using the right keywords in a Google search can help. Depending on your major and how much experience you have in your field, you may hit the nail on the head with the right keyword phrase while searching online. Steer clear of overcrowded sites for internships that don’t allow for any actual communication with the hiring firms. Internship websites that only have you type a few words about yourself in a dialog box and add your résumé as an attachment with no way to contacting companies may be a poor route.
Hunt by way of search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! while ensuring you have an airtight profile on LinkedIn. The profile should feature an excellent introduction about yourself, an updated résumé, references, and summaries of any projects you’re working on or have already completed. If you’re a graphic designer, marketing professional, advertising major, or architect, make sure you also have CreativePro.com and Behance.com profiles. If you’re an economics or finance major, apply to be a contributor on sites like Investopedia. For content writers, SEO professionals, and social media marketing majors maintain a professional presence across all social platforms and ensure your profile is available on other online sites like Glassdoor and Creative Circle.
The company you’re looking at may be receiving hundreds of applications. One hard and fast rule is to submit long before the deadline date. This shows you are serious, not a procrastinator, and genuinely want to be part of the team. However, don’t get so caught up preparing that you act hastily. Make sure you’ve paid attention to every detail and take your time to enumerate the principal reasons illustrating why you’re the best choice. And finally, follow the directions for each application process precisely. If the instructions say not to turn in your application until a specific date, wait until that time. Then be first to submit when you send your application early on the morning of the deadline.
If permitted, a cover letter for your application crafted expressly for that company’s culture is a winning feature. Concisely explain why you have the attitude and abilities to execute tasks that reflect their company values. Show thoughtful consideration by ensuring your cover letter is not verbose. Market yourself to them the same way they market themselves to their consumers.
You’ve made it to the interview process. Now dress the part, be yourself, and showcase the talents you discussed in your cover letter and résumé. Do whatever you must to keep nerves at bay. Remember: you made it this far because they liked what they read. Show them with action that what they saw on paper is legitimate. Be assertive, open, attentive, and prepared for a litany of questions about why you want this position. Be honest without being brash, be colorful without being aggressive, and illustrate your strong suits by being an active participant in the interview. That means asking questions of your own about the company, asking for a tour, and delivering a version of yourself that proves to be the perfect piece their firm needs.