Your college coursework gives you knowledge and skills pertinent to working a job in your industry. However, potential employers often look for job applicants to have hands-on experience as well. Internships are a great way to get the work experience employers are looking for, but how do you go about getting one? Finding and applying for an internship can be intimidating. These tips will help put you on the right track.
Get involved on campus
Getting involved outside the classroom shows motivation, and gives you unique skills that set you apart from the crowd. “I have been advising my students to begin finding any type of experience early in their college careers as it simply helps them show that they have some other skills besides class that can be applied to an internship,” says Dr. Joel Cormier, Assistant Professor of Exercise and Sport Science at Eastern Kentucky University.
Do your research
It’s extremely important to be in touch with current events related to your industry. Cassandra Grob, a Senior Account Executive at Garfield Group, says “Read the newspapers and publications important to the industry the company serves. In public relations, it is imperative to have your finger on the pulse of the industry. It’s impressive when a candidate can demonstrate that they know the industry and are engaged with relevant news mediums.”
Clean up your resume and cover letter
Be creative, concise, and keep things relevant. “Think about what you learned at each of your jobs and relate them to the skills and tasks you’ll be required to perform,” says Grob. She also advises removing irrelevant experience from your resume. “A hiring manager would rather see a tight list of jobs that you’ve related to the position you’re applying for than an exhausting list of positions with no relation to the job at hand.”
Finally, Grob stresses being unique in your cover letter. She says, “Be friendly, unique, cut to the chase, and set yourself apart. Don’t copy, paste, and send the same letter you’ve sent to everyone else. Sell the manager on you and why you’re the best candidate for the job.”
Take advantage of your resources
Almost everyone we spoke with — from PR professionals to college professors — mentioned a willingness to help students in their search for an internship. It’s important to take advantage of these offers, as well as additional resources on the web. For example, SuperInterns.com is a website that offers virtual internships for students who may want to look beyond the scope of a traditional internship. Morgan Shulski, a PR Agent for SuperInterns.com, says “SuperInterns.com [and sites like it, can be] … beneficial first because it can be done from your home, you can save money and the environment with no commute and set your own schedule. Also, it is not just an internship, but a mentorship.”
Internships provide valuable experience that will help put you ahead of the pack when you’re searching for jobs. Follow these pieces of advice and you’re sure to land an internship that’s perfect for you.