Reach out to a trusted professor or careers counselor in your search for that dream internship.
Securing an internship shouldn't just be something you do during your undergraduate years. It is equally important to seek out one of these great professional opportunity while studying for an advanced degree. After all, contingent on the length of your post-graduate program, you may well have two or more summers to fill, and what better way to do it than garnering as much work experience as possible? After all, the experience will look fantastic on your résumé and bring you even closer to your dream career. With extensive professional experience and a master's degree or PhD, you'll be truly unstoppable.
Given that securing summer internships is often the prerogative of countless other undergraduate and graduate students across the nation, you'll likely be facing some tough competition, particularly if you want a paid position or an internship with a large and reputable corporation, where networking and future job opportunities abound. That's why it's crucial to take steps to make yourself truly stand out from the crowd. If you are looking for some advice on how to secure that outstanding summer internship, review the list of seven tips below:
1. Conduct a comprehensive search
Securing your dream internship will often entail a comprehensive search process. It's not enough to simply review a company's website or an online job board. While such tactics should indeed be incorporated into your strategy, Time Magazine argued that it's wise to look in other places as well. Try utilizing your professional network. For example, an old colleague might have an exciting lead or your favorite professor may have a fascinating research opportunity available. Also utilize social media – reach out to recruiters on platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook and enquire as to whether any internships are available.
2. Keep your social media clean and up to date
This goes for any job search, and not simply an internship hunt. Ensure that your social media pages are clean of any inappropriate content or comments – think images of you partying in college and crass or offensive jokes. At the same time be sure to keep your professional social media page up to date with all relevant job and educational information as well as a fresh photograph. Keeping your online professional presence relevant indicates that you are invested in advancing your career.
"Ensure your social media pages are clean of inappropriate content or comments."
3. Research dream organizations
Find several companies, with open opportunities, where you would love to work. If you are lucky enough to secure an interview, then it's time to do your homework. As Forbes argued, few employers will be impressed if you demonstrate only basic knowledge of the organization in question. Some of the best candidates will research the company in-depth prior to their interview. This includes reading about the company extensively online, connecting with current employees via email and so on. If you are able to demonstrate a passion for the company before you even get hired, you will likely stand out from the crowd.
4. Have your résumé and cover letter edited
A sloppy résumé or cover letter littered with grammatical errors are surefire ways to lose out on a dream opportunity. The National Association for College Admission Counseling advised that you seek professional writing help from an on-campus writing center prior to submitting your documents, or, at the very least, have a trusted friend or professor review the letter and résumé for critical mistakes.
5. Practice your interview skills
While you may have a killer résumé and an engaging cover letter, it could all be for naught if you don't succeed in the interview stage. There are a number of social rules and customs that come into play while on an interview, and it's important to be cognizant of how to behave and how not to behave. If you struggle with interviews or lack confidence in general, extensive practice will likely help put your mind at ease, Time Magazine suggested. It is possible to practice your interviewing skills with a friend, or, better still, a professional connection already working in your desired industry. The source elaborated that most career centers will also offer mock interview practice, so there are plenty of opportunities to prepare for your big day.
6. Follow up
This rule also applies to a regular job interview: It's important to reach out to the prospective employer soon after the interview to thank them for their time. This is because, as Business News Daily reported, employers tend to appreciate the gesture and look more favorably upon candidates who offer heartfelt thanks for the opportunity. The source detailed that the note should be sent sooner rather than later, as the employer will be more likely to remember you. This is especially crucial if you interviewed in a group setting. The note can be sent either via mail or email. A written letter certainly carries a more personal touch, while an email indicates digital literacy and efficiency. Whichever tactic you follow, be sure to keep the note concise and engaging. Thank the employer for the chance and reiterate why you think you are a great fit for the role.
7. Remain patient
Your internship search, much like a job hunt, will feature plenty of highs and lows. However, as the University of Chicago noted, it's important not to give up on your search at the first hurdle. Hard work and patience are key to success.