It’s the time of year we start to think about what we’re going to do this summer. Some of us will travel, some will continue our part-time jobs, and some will start their career journey by getting a summer internship!
If you’re looking to get ahead, finding an internship is highly recommended. Internships give you legitimate work experience, help you build your professional network and give you a competitive advantage when it comes to applying for your first job out of post-secondary.
But getting that internship can be intimidating. In fact, it’s very common for most of us do not know where to start. So here’s a quick guide on getting an awesome summer internship!
The first step to getting an internship is finding one to apply to. While most people resort to a good ol’ fashioned internet research, like the TalentEgg job board, take a look at these other options.
Take Advantage of Networking Opportunities
Networking is crucial to take advantage of opportunities where you can get some face time with professionals at events, local networking get-togethers and career fairs.
Set Up an Informational Interview
You could also set up an informational interview. This involves contacting an employee of a company you want to work for and ask if you can grab a coffee with them to talk about their career! Don’t forget about your school’s alumni network as well! It’s a great way to meet people and put yourself on the map.
Ask Around Your Network
Reach out and see if anyone in your already established network knows of any postings or if there are any upcoming opportunities within their companies. If someone points you in the direction of a job, make sure to include that they referred you in your application – with permission, of course.
The Application Process
The actual application process for internships can be nerve-wracking. You’re competing against hundreds of other students that are all relatively at the same point in their careers. You obviously need to stand out from the crowd, so how can you do this?
Read Everything Twice
Read the entire job posting and all of the application instructions, then read it again. Not following the instructions is a surefire way to get yourself kicked out of the running without trying.
Research the Company
Before you start writing your application, research the organization. Find something specific to their company that makes you want to work there. Is their CEO someone you find inspiring? Does the latest product release excite you?
Tailor Your Application To This Specific Job
Tailoring your application to a specific job helps you demonstrate your understanding of the position. Make sure to include a few lines about the company and why you want to work there.
Write A Cover Letter
Definitely include a cover letter, but make sure it’s not a novel. Try to demonstrate your skills, motivation and desire to work for the company in as few words as possible. Aim for 300 words or less!
Write to An Actual Person
Before you address your application “to whom it may concern”, try to find out who will read it. Sometimes it’s right in the posting (i.e. Please send your application to Mary Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org) and sometimes the posting has clues (i.e. the Marketing Assistant will report to the Marketing Manager) that you can take to Google or LinkedIn. If you have neither, try looking up the company on LinkedIn or heading to their website!
Show Your Personality
While you need to make sure you maintain professionalism in your application, it’s absolutely okay to show your personality. In fact, it’s highly encouraged!
Get A Second Set of Eyes
Before you hand in your application, get someone else to read it. If you can’t get someone else to read it, make sure to read it over again (twice) out loud. You’re more likely to catch additional mistakes that way.
The Interview Process
Interviewing is a stressful part of the application process because you’re selling yourself to a new company live and in-person – there is no chance to edit before you send!
Do Some Research
Before you head to your interview, research the company (again) and lookup the people you’re going to be meeting with. It’s helpful to know the names and job titles of people you are interviewing with beforehand, so feel free to ask. But be prepared to meet some more people than originally specified – this is usually a good sign!
Dress for Success
Your first impression happens even before you open your mouth to introduce yourself, so it’s important to dress like their next employee. It’s better to be overdressed than under, so go for business or business casual to be safe. Make sure your clothes are clean, wrinkle-free and wear nice shoes!
Bring Your Resume
It’s a little old school, but bring a few printed copies of your resume to pass out to your interviewers in case they don’t have a copy. You probably won’t have to use them, but it’s a nice touch if you do.
They say that practice makes perfect, and this definitely applies to interviewing. Grab a friend or a family member and have them ask you interview questions so you can practice your answers.
Prepare Questions in Advance
There’s that awkward moment towards the end of an interview when they ask: “So, do you have any questions for us?” Typically people say no, but asking a great question at the end of the interview can make you stand out. So, before you go, prepare a few questions to ask.
After the Interview
After you’re done the interview, we highly recommended you send a quick thank you note to your interviewers within 24-hours. Once you’ve sent your thank you note, all you have left to do is wait patiently!