If you’re in college and dreaming to secure an internship in some of the top companies, then this is the right time to get started. There are tons of well-qualified and hardworking applicants for each opening and the competition is intense.
The good news is that there are certain things you can do to stand apart from the crowd and land a coveted internship that will provide useful experience and skills.
Here are 5 things you can do to obtain an internship that will add immense value to your resume.
1. Triple check your resume
You need to have a clean and clear resume to create a great first impression. Proofread your resume for any spelling-mistakes and grammatical errors. Have your friends check it too.
Also, look for any logical inaccuracies, or situations where you’ve spun the truth. For example, you may have mentioned cash management skills, but in reality, you were working the cash register at Starbucks. This is important because if your interviewer/employer thinks you’re lying on your resume or during the interview, you’ll be out-right rejected.
Also, mention all the skills a prospective employer looks for, at the top of your resume or in some prominent place. Describe all the relevant experience you have in the industry, and any specialized skills that you’ve acquired along the way.
2. Internships are not only for summer
Many college students assume that internships are available only during summer, and prepare accordingly. However, you’ll be surprised to know that universities and companies offer co-op positions throughout the year, not just in the summer. This provides a lot more opportunities to apply for internships.
Students should consider different types of positions while applying for internships. A letter of reference from a reputed organization can add a lot of value to your resume and help you get a great full-time job in future.
You can reach out to your school’s guidance counselor to get an idea of the various firms that offer internships and how to apply to them. You can also visit websites such as Internships.com or InternMatch.com to search for internship opportunities.
While seeking internship opportunities, you should also look at how the experience will help you get your dream job. For example, if your goal is to become a fund manager, then you should aim to intern at a large mutual fund company.
3. Submit applications on time
It goes without saying that you must submit your application before the deadline. Ensure that you complete your application very scrupulously. Employers get dozens, if not hundreds, of applications for each open position, so you need to create a great first impression. In fact, send your application as early as possible. This will make it easy for employers to remember your application using a fresh perspective, instead of reviewing it in the end and comparing it with what others have already sent.
Make it stand apart from the crowd by keeping your writing neat and easy to read. Also, differentiate yourself by mentioning what you have learnt by your experience and how you’ve grown, instead of only mentioning what you have done.
4. Put your best foot forward
While going to your interview, dress professionally and be presentable. Also, ask a few questions at the end of your interview – about the company’s strategy, its products & services, and also what they expect from their interns. This will show that you’re genuinely interested in their organization and eager to add value. Also, be prepared to answer a few open-ended questions like:
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- What do you want to do in life?
- What makes you different or special?
- What are you passionate about?
5. Be flexible about internship work
Some interns are required to do a fixed set of tasks everyday – like entering data into spreadsheets or posting social media updates. Sometimes, they’re required to perform a lot of ad-hoc tasks (create a report one day, do customer support the next day), or even do grunt work (go here, get this) that nobody else wants to do. Sometimes, you’ll also be required to work late nights, or even weekends. Make it clear that you’re flexible to work according to the organization’s needs.
Wrapping it up
Getting an internship can be stressful experience. These 5 tips will help a student land an internship of their choice. Start early and position yourself as a skilled candidate suitable for the internship of your dreams.