Now that it’s March, it’s just about time to start looking for summer internships. If you’ve never had an internship before, it can be hard to know exactly where to even begin.
After going through the application process, interviewing and interning for about a month and a half, I will share some tips I wish had been shared with me before I started looking for an internship.
How to land the internship:
Apply to as many internships as you can.
It can be hard at first, when you put so much work into one application, do an interview and then never hear back from the company. The truth is, this is totally normal. The way around this is to send your resume and cover letter to as many places as possible. You will get a response eventually, so you can’t get discouraged after one time!
Update your resume.
Your resume is the first thing your potential employer sees about you, so it needs to be pristeen. Make sure it is completely up to date with your latest experiences and any awards or scholarships you may have.
Check more than once to ensure your resume looks organized and is easy to read. Your resume will be one of many looked at by one person, so make sure yours stands out by looking crisp and clean.
Always send a cover letter.
Sometimes sending a cover letter is optional. Never decide not to send a cover letter. A cover letter gives you personality and a voice that your resume does not. Do not make it longer than one page and keep it concise, but tell the employer why you think that you would be a good fit at their company. Also, include what you can do for them, as opposed to saying what they can do for you.
Prepare for interviews.
If you’ve got an interview, make sure to come prepared. Always thoroughly research the company and make sure you know it’s history, competitors, products and about the person who is interviewing you. With this research, you won’t be caught off guard, and your interviewer will be impressed you came prepared.
The interviewer will always ask, “Do you have any questions for me?” Never respond by saying no. Before the interview even starts, prepare at least three questions to ask during the interview. This will show your interviewer that you are interested in the company and want to learn more about it.
You got an internship? Congratulations!
Here’s how to be the best intern you can be:
Show up on time.
This should be a no-brainer, but an internship is not the same as going to classes in college. You can not come in late or not show up at all without a good excuse. Always come into the internship on time and ready to work hard.
Always ask if there is something else you can do.
Because you most likely do not have a specific task or job, you may find that once you have completed whatever your boss has given, you don’t have another task lined up. This is not an excuse to pull out your phone and scroll through Instagram or to catch up on homework.
Instead, ask your boss if there is anything else you can do. If he or she is not around, look around the office and see if there is anything you can see that needs to be done. Your boss will take notice of how much of a hard worker you are, which is helpful in the future.
Be willing to do any task.
As an intern, you are the lowest on the totem pool. Everyone has to be at the beginning of the career, so be ready to do some rather menial tasks. The secret is to do them willingly, efficiently and with a smile.
You will have to organize file cabinets, pick up coffee, vacuum and many other things. These tasks are not fun to do, but they need to be done. Do them well and make yourself a person your boss can count on. It will pay off in the future
It can be a hard realization when the company that you’re interning for is not as glamorous as you initially thought. Even though you might not be having the time of your life, push through and stay positive. These experiences will make you a valuable candidate for a job that is as glamorous as you think. You just have to pay your dues for now.
Don’t take it too seriously.
Making a mistake every once in awhile is inevitable. It’s most likely your first time in an office and sometimes given instructions can be murky. If you don’t complete a task correctly, don’t beat yourself up. Understand what you did wrong and make sure it doesn’t happen again. It’s just an internship, and it’s not life or death, so don’t take it too seriously.
This last one is cliche, but you have to remember that you get to experience how the industry works before you even graduate college. Enjoy your time at your internship, work hard and make connections. Good luck!