Soon, it will be time to apply for internships and to avoid the stress of moving from one company to another, looking for available internship slots, we have put together3 smart ways to land your dream internship:
- Start Scouting Early
Interviewers and employers admit that a number of applications they receive for internships keep increasing. One way to ensure that you prepare enough and be able to land your internship is to start scouting early.
It is important that ahead of the long vacation (summer vacation) you start looking out for prospective companies you can possibly intern with. Preferably, you may want to start scouting early in order to avoid the pressures of making hasty decisions.
Start looking out for postings online at the beginning of the semester or earlier. Your search on company websites, LinkedIn and online job portals will be relevant. If you search enough, chances are you will find; new postings of internship opportunities you can apply for.
When your search leads you to new openings for the coming year, you are advised to look thoroughly through the requirements and find out as much detail as you need to know about the internship. It is important to confirm the duration of the internship, when it starts and ends, expected skills of applicants, deadline for submission of application and other relevant information needed.
On the other hand, where your search does not indicate that your preferred company is hiring interns, you are still advised to place a cold call. Chances are your call will be transferred to the HR or recruitment officer. If the company has an Internship Officer, the person will assist you. Use the opportunity to ask all relevant questions pertaining to the internship.
Most companies consider the opportunity for students to do an internship as an invaluable one and may not apportion any payment to you. Among the many relevant questions you can ask, it is often to your advantage if you do not ask about this when you place your call. By asking, you may create an impression to the Officer that your motivation is for the earning and not the learning. A typical employer given two candidates, all things being equal will select an intern who is not motivated by money. Having said this, it is important to mention that, there are paid and free internships. The lesson here is instructive, that when you place in a cold call, focus on having your feet in the door. Be driven towards gaining the opportunity to intern.
Make use of your contacts
Only few of the resumes on the desk of the hiring manager will be selected for an interview. It is therefore crucial to leverage on all your contacts when submitting your application.
Arguably, if the hiring officer knows your referee, your chance of securing an interview is even higher. You may want to employ contacts you know to push your resume. Who do you have on your contact list and how often do you communicate with the person? You wouldn’t want someone who does not remember you or worse off, a referee who has changed phone number.
Your family and friends are often your immediate contacts. You can start with your parents, you may want to intern at their organisation if any. You are best placed if you discuss this with your mum and dad and pass your resume through them. They may let you drop it in person or do it on your behalf. Either way, they will not miss the opportunity to put in a word for you. Where your preferred organisation is not the immediate one of your parents, you are still advised to discuss with them. Chances are they have interfaced with people in those organisations before and can advise on who to best consult to push your application through. Do not underestimate this huge resource.
Your friends offer yet another fantastic opportunity. Where do you find your friends; in your school, your neighbourhood, your church, your social clubs, your sports groups and you name it. Master the habit of constantly engaging your friend’s way ahead even before thinking of applying for an internship. Find out what work your friend’s parents do. What their older siblings do and which companies their uncles or aunties work. Show excitement at every bit of information you gather from them. At the time you may want your internship, you can leverage on your relationship with your friends. That’s when a person becomes a buddy.
The next contact you can explore is your course advisor or course supervisor. The power that is in your course advisor is huge. In certain instances, companies will send to your department or supervisor, postings that relate to your program of study. When you apply at any of such companies, it is possible your advisor may be consulted before a decision is made on you. It is therefore prudent that you make an impression on your supervisor to merit a good recommendation. In some cases too, you may find relevant contacts of your course supervisor or advisor. It is important that you do not look down on any contact that he or she makes available to you.
Again, you can trust seniors and colleagues in your school who have interned previously. These are huge links to landing your dream internship. You do not want to look down on this opportunity. It is in your own interest to have good relationships with your course mates, roommates, departmental heads and seniors. It will take a colleague a phone call to his internship officer in a previous organisation to secure your placement.
You can court a whole new level of contacts altogether. You can make business contacts that will be relevant for your internship. Participating in conferences is a sure way to meet business executives and like-minded persons who are serious on career and personal development. Networking at such a platform has proved essential for students who have been deliberate to further the relationship. It is therefore very important that you pay close detail to the CV.
In addition to the referral you get from your contacts, your CV speaks volumes of you before your prospective employer meets you. A term often used in place of CV is resume. Technically a CV and resume differs in terms of their length. A CV is considered lengthier and much detailed than a resume. Your CV is not only competing with persons in your school for an internship slot. It is competing with people across the world so bag in that experience!
- Nail it at the Interview
If your CV was enough you probably will not be called for an interview. Again, your CV is not the main product; you are! Your CV is like the brochure, it sells a product. When your prospective employers grant you an interview, they are giving you the opportunity to convince them on why you are the best intern they will have. This is actually your moment of truth. You have been dreaming of interning in the organisation, now you meet the job givers and they say ‘Convince us, why do you think you should intern in this organisation?’
Ahead of your interview as an intern you may want to assume the posture of a typical student preparing for his final examination that will justify his or her placement in the tertiary institution of his choice. You can imagine yourself as a science student who has been dreaming of furthering his education at the best science University in the country or an arts or business student who has always been determined on improving his knowledge base at the tertiary institution. There is probably less opportunity for you to have leaked questions and worst of all you are likely to be the only candidate with the interviewer (s) so your well-developed giraffe neck will have no role to reward its creativity.
Why do some employers interview interns? Interviews afford the recruitment team the opportunity to objectively access your competence. It is an important way of permitting the interviewer to establish an understating of your attitude. Very importantly is the fact that every prospective employer will like to study accounts of specific endeavours from your past and relate them with the role you are applying for as an intern. The question types that will be posed to you at your interview for your dream internship will seek to convince the interviewer of your behaviour, how you manage stress, work in a team and sometimes your technical skills.
We Wish you all the best and hope these tips help you in your search for your dream internship!