A good internship can steer your entire career down the right path. But don’t wait until you’ve done an internship to aim high – find the internship of your dreams and go for it!
Here are 10 steps that will help you get the internship you’ve always wanted:
1. Actively look for internships.
If you know what you want – go after it. And don’t be afraid to go above and beyond – contact the people and companies that you want to work with directly. You’ll leave an impression and demonstrate that you are action-oriented.
2. Do your research.
Make your own top-list of companies that you’d most like to work for. Find contacts at these companies whose positions are relevant to what you want to do, and get in touch. You don’t always have to approach them as a potential employee – tell them you are new to the industry, really interested in their company, and ask them if they have any advice for you. If you have concrete questions for them, even better!
3. Don’t rely too much on technology.
This might seem old-school, but you don’t always have to email in your CV or portfolio. Print it out and mail it in, or if you can, show your face and drop it off!
4. Pay attention to the details.
No matter how you choose to send in an application to an internship, make sure your pay attention to detail. Have someone proof read all of your documents. Make sure that your CV is well organized and easy to read. If you send in your application, address the envelop neatly. No detail is too small to be important!
5. Be persistent.
Once you’ve applied, follow up! Pick up the phone and call a company if you are really interested in being hired by them! At the very least, send a follow up email. They won’t choose someone they don’t remember!
6. Make your voice heard.
Tips 1-5 will no doubt help you make it to the interview stage! When you do, speak up and be confident. Show that you are enthusiastic about the internship position and let them know what sets you apart. Interviews don’t have to be scary – they are your chance to show off how great you are (without coming across as bragging, of course).
7. Pay compliment to their work.
Know who you are interviewing with (the person if possible, but certainly the company) and educate yourself about the work they’ve done. It does’t hurt to let them know that you admire what they have produced or achieved, and it is definitely expected that you know enough about the company to know why you want to intern there.
8. Don’t rush things.
If you start to get offers in right away, you might want to take a day or two to respond. While every situation is different, you want to make sure that you are making the best decision for yourself. Depending on the position you are in, you might even want to let them know that you are considering other offers. Just make sure to say this in a way that does not make it seem as if you are not that interested in the position they are offering you! This is the start of your entire career, so it should not be taken too lightly.
9. Learn the art of the cold call.
While it’s not always comfortable, you need to learn to pick up the phone or open your email and contact people who have never heard of you before. You probably will not get the first internship you apply for, so increase your chances by finding several companies that interest you and doing your best to convince them you’re the one. Every company could use a great intern (if not now, sometime soon), so position yourself to be first in line even if you don’t see an internship opportunity posted.
Networking is so important for your career, so start now! The more people you know in your industry, the more likely you are to know people at the company you want to work for. Use your contacts when searching for jobs. Even an acquaintance can be a good reference for you if they work at your dream company!
Use these tips and you’ll have an internship in no time! Remember, you get out what you put in, so make sure to put your all into finding the best internship for you out there.