Finding an internship is hard, time-consuming, and downright terrifying. In order to help ease a bit of that pain, we’ve listed five steps that you can take to land your next internship. Think about it, only 5 steps to getting your next internship, how hard could that possibly be?
- Start early and be proactive about it
Despite what others might tell you, it is never too early to start looking for internships. Even as early as Freshman year, you go get ahead of that curve, you proactive nerd you.
Second, don’t limit yourself, branch out into different industries and different size companies. If you find a small company that you find interesting, apply! If there’s a big-name company that you think you should apply to because it’ll “look good” but you’d rather eat glass than work there, go ahead and skip it. Just because it’s a big name does not mean you will have a good experience. Especially if you are going to hate being there. A big-name company may look nice on your resume, but a smaller company could potentially give you more responsibility which means you will learn a lot more. After all, an internship is meant to be an opportunity to gain more real-world experience, not to start a collection of companies.
Another very important thing to consider is that internships are no longer exclusively for the summer time. Many companies look for interns during the fall and spring terms as well. So, if you happen to be planning a backpacking trip across Europe over the summer, don’t fear, you still have a chance of snagging an internship. If you want to be extra, apply for internships for all terms!
- Take your resume and cover letter to the tailor.
So now that you have your, hopefully, long list of internships ready to go, it’s time to look a look at your resume and cover letter. First, you need to proofread everything. Let your friends proofread them, your counselors, your parents, your dog… make sure there are absolutely no errors or typos! Don’t get disqualified just because of a typo! Next, you want to tailor your resume and cover letter to the company and position you are applying for. The more customized it is the better. Creating a cookie cutter resume for every job is rarely a good idea. Tweak your resume for each job and make it as relevant to the job that you are applying for as possible.
For positions that require it, be sure to include a portfolio of your most impressive work. Remember, it’s about quality over quantity. Don’t add every job/project you’ve ever done. Custom pick the experience that you have that is most relevant to the position. Leaving out some projects leaves room for discussion in the interview.
- Interview like you’re on a first date
Think of this like it’s a date. You want to come off as confident, smart, intelligent, and not like a cocky know-it-all. This is to say, show interest in the company and have questions for the interviewer but don’t assume you have it in the bag. Prepare at least three questions related to the company or position. For example, you can ask about what your potential responsibilities might be, or about projects, you might be working on. You should be expressing genuine interest here.
- Everyone likes a nice letter
Like any first date, end the interview by thanking the interviewer for his/her time. Make sure to follow up in a day or two thanking them again over an email if they provided you with contact information. Follow up after an interview no matter how you think it went. Thank everyone that was involved with your interview and that you are looking forward to hearing from them. It’s as simple as that. Being polite goes a long way.
- ’Tis the Season for Rejection and Acceptance letters
Well, I guess mainly rejection letters. If you’re not receiving rejection letters, you’re not reaching high enough. Learn from them. Did you mess up on something? Your resume? Your interview? Fix it and keep going. Don’t take it personally. Let them fuel you, not put you down. Landing an internship is a marathon, not a sprint. Expecting to get an offer from all, or even most of the companies that you applied to will result in disappointment. Be persistent and never give up, even when it feels hopeless. It will make that job offer you get that much sweeter.
Take these five steps, go out in the world and score an internship! If you’re on the hunt for tech internships specifically, check out https://weintern.tech. A technology-focused job board with new internships posted daily. You can even subscribe to our mailing list and receive weekly updates on internships in your field.