A summer/winter internship can be more than just a way to fulfil a requirement of your studies or fulfil your resume. It can be a gateway to the job of your dreams, but at the same time it has to be done right. You have to seek out the right opportunities and make the most of them, both during and after the internship. Here are some useful tips to help land your internship.
Consider yourself and your qualifications:
One of the most common misconceptions that students have about how to get an internship is that they must apply to every position that catches their eye to increase their odds. But this means expansion of application scale, decreasing the chances of acceptance and increasing of competition with other applicants. Instead, think about the skills and experience you currently possess and which positions you might be a good fit for based on that information.
Here are a few ways to decide which internships are appropriate for your skills and interest:
- Consider your major: Look up common career fields and job titles for people with your major.
- Consider your experience: Think about your previous work, project or volunteer experience, and which roles it might prepare you for. A student contributing to an open-source software project might consider a software developer internship, while a student who tutors for a statistics class may want to look at data science internships.
- Explore your interests: Write down a few career fields that interest you, and assume yourself as a person who currently does one of them. Then think about whether you will be happy or not while doing it, is it an appropriate field for you or not etc. At the end of this criticism, update your written fields and search internships with remaining areas.
- Start small: Don’t feel pressured to get your internship right away, especially if you have no prior work experience. Start by exploring small local organizations such as start-ups, groups affiliated with your university or volunteer work in order to bolster your resume.
Be aware of where to look:
Once you have a more concrete and proper idea of which internships would be appropriate for you, this means it’s time to look and research.
- Visit Websites: Websites (such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, Nexxt) have thousands of internship listings, so you’re bound to find something that’s right for you. You can search for the internship titles you’re interested in, and narrow results down by location, size, industry, company ratings and more.
- Leverage Your Network: Getting a personal recommendation can make all the difference in your internship search, so make sure to reach out to friends, family, classmates, professors and alumni to see if they know anyone hiring an intern. Another great strategy is to look up the companies you’re interested in and reach out to employees there for an informational interview. You never know what opportunities it might lead to.
- Contact Companies Directly: If you have a dream company in mind but they don’t have any relevant internships, you can always try writing them a letter of interest in hopes that they will either contact you when one opens or even create a new one for you. It may take a longer process than applying directly, but you will never know if you don’t try.
Prepare your application materials:
No matter which job you apply for, there are a few important items you would like to have on hand.
Resumes are a written compilation of your education, work experience, skills, and accomplishments.
How should your resume look like?
- There is a method called the STAR format that consists of situation, task, action and result in your work experience bullet points.
- Quantify your impact whenever possible.
- List your key wins and accomplishments, not just your day to day tasks.
- Highlight meaningful extracurriculars.
- Emphasize skills and responsibilities found in the job description.
- Keep it clean, concise and easy to read.
b) Cover Letter:
Cover letters are typically a one page document that explains to the hiring manager why you are an ideal candidate for the job. It goes beyond your resume to explain in detail how you could add value to the company. While not always mandatory, in a sense they are usually a good idea.
How should your cover letter be?
- Start with a unique opening line.
- Do some research into the company, and mention a few things you have learned about it throughout the letter to showcase your knowledge of and passion for the organization.
- Explain how your previous work experience has prepared you for this role.
- Share a few ideas about how you would contribute to the company if hired.
- Customize your cover letter for each new job that you apply to, do not always use the same one.
Interview part is often the process of the internship search that people are scared the most. But if you prepare yourself enough, it won’t be scary at all. Before your interview, make sure you gather some basic information on the company such as things like what products or services they offer, who is on their leadership team, what milestones they have reached recently etc. Any of these subjects are fair game in an interview, and not knowing the answer to one of them will show that you haven’t done your due diligence. Besides their questions, you can also ask a few questions of your own as well. Asking your interviewer specific questions about the company will show that you are passionate, curious and well informed. After your interview is over, all you have to do is wait for their response. Think positively, and be proud that you have completed the hardest part.
I hope this blog was helpful getting a different perspective about internship preparation and its adventure. I wish you a good and productive internship period in advance!
See you on the next blog!
Written by Nedim Can Ulusoy
International Student Ambassador from Turkey
Computer Science BSc
University of Pécs, Faculty of Sciences
Study in Pécs, Hungary - Turkish portal