As job opportunities become more and more competitive for recent graduates, companies are more interested in candidates who already have some professional experience. Instead of spending the summer on the couch stuffing your face with junk food, getting fried outside by the pool every day, or listening to your parents bug you about your laziness — get an internship!
Internships are a great way to gain the knowledge and skills you will need in the corporate world and increase potential opportunities. They are excellent resume builders and a great way to make connections and build a professional network that can lead to a job right out of school. In order to set yourself apart from your peers, make your resume more competitive, and score your dream job, consider the following advice (your parents and future professional self will thank you.)
Attend college fairs and determine your career path.
Many college campuses offer career fairs to students in all majors. In order to get your name out to companies, it is vital to research the career fair schedule at your school throughout the semester. Information on career fairs usually includes a listing of the companies attending. Get ahead of the game and do some research on the companies you want to talk to! Having some background knowledge on the company will leave a lasting impression with the recruiters.
At the career fair, have an open mind and talk to as many companies as possible. You might have an idea of the type of internship you want to have, but you want to talk to different types of businesses to see if other internship opportunities line up with your experiences and interests. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and follow up with recruiters you talk to at the fair!
Connect with people on LinkedIn- and clean up your social media!
Everyone is on social media these days. Whether you have a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or a blog account, employers are constantly researching candidates on these sites. LinkedIn is a great professional networking site where people can add their job experiences, skills, and interests. After meeting company representatives (such as recruiters at career fairs) it is a good idea to connect with them on LinkedIn. This shows recruiters and employers that you are interested in their company, and also expands your professional network, which can lead to more job opportunities. That being said, businesses can see EVERYTHING you post on your social media sites. Make sure you are always representing yourself in a polished manner. No one wants to see pictures on Facebook that you don’t even remember taking…
Have a killer resume and cover letter.
Sometimes it is difficult to write a resume when you haven’t had much experience in the job market. It is still important to describe all experience related to the job or past employment positions. Do you participate in research at your university or are a teacher’s assistant for first-year students? Add that to your resume with specific details on your responsibilities! When applying for jobs with your resume, it is important that you meet all of the basic qualifications that the internship requires. Don’t forget, relevant volunteer work is another good way to enhance your resume.
Check out Sandy’s blog for more information on writing an awesome resume.
Some companies require that you send in a cover letter as well as a resume. Whether this is mandatory or not, sending an excellent cover letter will make you stand out in the crowd of other students. It is important to tailor your cover letter to the job posting (don’t send out the same cover letter to 10 companies). Include in the letter specifics on what you had to do in your last job, the skills you learned from that, and how you will be able to apply those skills in the internship. Explaining a situation where you had to utilize those skills will show them how innovative you are!
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people multiple times.
You won’t be annoying if you follow through with recruiters or hiring managers to check the status of the interview process or ask questions pertaining to the job — they love that. Keeping in contact with them shows that you are interested and enthusiastic about the potential of interning with them. Follow up with an email after every phone screen, phone interview and in-person interview.
Be prepared for the phone/in-person interview.
Ways this can be accomplished:
- Show up 10-15 minutes prior to the interview
- Research the company before the interview
- Dress appropriately (see how people dress at the company through the website)
- Come prepared with copies of your resume, a pen, and portfolio
- Be prepared to talk about how specific classes in your major relate to the position
- Ask questions at the end to show you are interested
- Follow up with an email after the interview
Don’t get discouraged if an internship doesn’t work out.
Since college students are competing against hundreds of other students for some internship positions, it is important to apply to multiple companies to increase your chances. Some internships require that you have certain classes or certifications that might prevent you from getting the job. If rejected, stay connected with the company and ask them to consider you for future employment opportunities. Then start the search again for your dream internship!
Become an Intern
Think you’ve got what it takes to be an intern at MetroStar Systems. Show us by uploading a snap application here.