To put it simply: finding an internship is TOUGH, especially when you’re applying to competitive companies that look at thousands of applicants for one position. However, internships are important: they help you narrow down what you would like to do post-graduation, they help you make connections, and they help you realize your strengths and weaknesses. However, actually obtaining one can be difficult, so I I am going to share my personal tips and tricks for scoring an internship experience for you!
- Perfect your résumé.
This is the employer’s first impression of who you are and what you represent. There are so many resources out there if you do not know how to craft a good résumé: online, Career Services, and even some professors/advisors will help you out. Just be sure to make them concise and detailed all at the same time– which can be frustrating/time consuming to create—but it is important. Also, do not be afraid to have various versions depending on where you are applying. I know plenty of people who have one that is more creative in its layout and one that is more classic.
- Assess what you want to get out of an internship.
In order to choose where you are going to apply, you must first ask yourself what it is that you are looking to accomplish from this internship. For me, I know I have specific strengths in certain areas, so I try to tailor my research around that and what I am interested in. If you have absolutely no idea, then do some research first and come back to this question.
- Utilize your resources.
As a college student, there are so many resources on campus and online that can help you score an incredible internship if you put in the time and work to seek them out. There are websites that are FREE and have listings and listings of internships that you can narrow down by certain categories. And, if you are a Delaware student, we often use Handshake: a website sort of like LinkedIn where Delaware Career Services employees will actually help you with your résumé before you upload it. It is a one-stop-shop for internship searches, which is awesome when you are applying to multiple (which you always should). There are also websites like Glassdoor, Internships.com, and Indeed.
- Be proactive.
This tip is super important. Companies want interns that are motivated, diligent, and intellectually curious. If you are going to be a passive, lazy, or unwilling to put work into this process, you are not going to get what you want from it. Going off of this, companies are receiving so many applications, so it is great to follow up with recruiters to ensure that they got everything they needed. If you get an interview, be sure to follow up with them after that as well. Not only does it show interest in the company, but it speaks for your character as well!
I think many people forget about LinkedIn when searching for internships. I have found that recruiters actually do look at LinkedIn profiles, especially for students, to see what they are involved in and what experience they have. In a world as digital as we are, keeping your professional profile updated is very important. Some internships even allow you to apply directly through LinkedIn!
- Be positive & don’t limit yourself
The last tip I have is to stay optimistic about the whole process. It is really easy to get bummed when you don’t get the internship you were hoping for, or if you never hear back from a company. Be persistent, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and keep working towards what you would like to do. If you end up being negative and dwelling on one internship that you do not get, then you’re really just hurting yourself. Remember: everything is a building block towards your career, so any experience is good experience!