As we all know, landing an internship can be super exciting but can also come with many challenges. Internships are a great way to experience the workforce without being locked into the job, but since they provide such valuable experiences, they can be really competitive. Before even applying for an internship, you should be thinking about resume and cover letter prep, professional clothing, interview question practice and the list goes on. Most of us are required to complete an internship before graduation which comes with a lot of stress. I landed an internship last summer and I want to share my tips for how to land one yourself!
Here are my 22 tips for landing an internship:
- Look for internships. My favorites places to look for internships online are
- Make a list of all the internships you are interested in and qualified for. Include internships that might feel out of your comfort zone or ones you feel not extremely qualified for! You never know how qualified you might actually be.
- Rank the internships in order of date that the application is due.
- Identify descriptive words in each job description! This will be helpful later when updating your resume and cover letter.
- If you are interested in creating your own internship, identify companies you might be able to propose your idea to!
- Always look for opportunities to ask to create an internship.
- Update your resume. K-State offers free resume critiques at the Career Center so I recommended you check them out. If you are in a creative industry, make it creative and unique to you.
- Double check your resume and make sure there are no errors.
- Create a standard cover letter that highlights your skills and why you would be a valuable asset to the company. Look online and ask to look at friends’ cover letters for examples and ideas for how you could present yourself.
- For each internship application, change the wording on your resume and cover letter to match the wording used in the job description. They want to know you will be able to complete the task they listed so why not include them on your resume!
- You might have 20 different versions of your resume and cover letter which is completely okay! It will actually help you in the long run.
- Pick a day to write all your applications.Once you are finished, ask a couple friends to edit them! You don’t want any grammar or spelling errors.
- Once you submit your application there is so much excitement and anticipation waiting to get a response back! If you don’t hear back within a week, find a point of contact in the company and follow up. The follow up can be by email or phone.
- When you get an opportunity for an interview, remember that they are people just like you. Be professional but also let your personality shine!
- Start to look up potential interview questions and prepare your answers! You want to be prepared for all types of questions they will ask you! The Career Center at Kansas State does mock interviews which is a great resource to use!
- Look at the company’s website. You will want to know the history, mission, values, size of staff and target market of the company!
- Most questions will be based on situations and they want to know how you will handle them. Some examples could be
- Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work, and how you dealt with it.
- What’s a time you disagreed with a decision that was made at work?
- What’s a time you exercised leadership?
- How would your boss and co-workers describe you?
- How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?
- What do you know about the company?
- Why do you want to work here?
- Your personality, work ethic and experiences are what they are going to want to get to know.
- Be authentic during the interview!!! I can’t stress this enough! They don’t want a picture perfect person! They want to know you are real and will do your best in the position and if you make a mistake they want to know if you will own up to it!
- In my opinion, the best way to dress for the interview is to identify the style of clothing the staff members wear on a daily basis and then dress a couple steps above that! It is way better to be overdressed than underdressed!
- On the day of the interview, MAKE SURE you arrive early! You do not want to be late! My rule of thumb is to be at least 30 minutes early in case you hit traffic or there is some type of problem that arises, you will be able to figure out a way to get there on time!
My final tip is to be confident in who you are and the experiences you have had!! Confidence is powerful! Even if you end up not getting the position, you will be able to know that you gave it all that you got! I believe that when one door closes another one will open! It may not be what you expected but it will still be good and you will be able to learn from it!!
BE CONFIDENT IN WHO YOU ARE! AND BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! YOU CAN DO IT!