Finding an internship can be hard, but they give you invaluable experience as a student. You have the opportunity to learn new skills, work in your field of study, make connections, and increase your employability. What’s not to love! I completed two internships in my final year of university and couldn’t recommend doing them enough! While university teaches you theory and concepts, it doesn’t give you practical experience. And that’s where internships come in. Here are some tips to help you land that internship you’ve been looking for.
Spruce up your resume
First things first, put some time and effort into making your resume look and read well. It’s always handy to have an up to date, relevant resume, not just for internships. Make sure you have all of the relevant information for what you’re applying for. Use a resume checklist to make sure you’re not missing anything:
- Basic info (name, phone number, email address)
- A short introduction
- Education detailsWork history
- Volunteer experience
- Proof read, proof read, and proof read again!
If you’re in more of a creative field spend some time playing around with the formatting, use different fonts and dividers to separate your sections. This will show the extra time and effort you put into presenting yourself not just in person, but also on paper. I spent around 2 hours just formatting my resume and have had many comments saying how visually pleasing and easy to read it is, believe me, it’s worth your time.
Ask your uni
Universities have lots of contacts, and many companies search for interns through universities. Your uni or faculty might have a newsletter, webpage, or person to go to in order to find any internships that are available. Internships advertised through uni can be competitive, since lots of students apply, especially for the good ones. Apply quickly and make sure your documents are looking spic and spam to give you the best chance.
Search the interwebs
Many websites also advertise internships. These will be different country to country and even region to region. Find one that advertises for your area, I personally kept an eye on Grad Connection, which advertises internships and graduate programs. Also keep an eye out on large companies that hire in your field. A lot have internship programs that you are able to apply for directly through their own website.
Not for profits
Don’t discount not for profits! Since these organisations are always on the look out for volunteers, they might just be after someone in your field! I did two internships at not-for-profits and I can highly recommend it. Not only do you learn new skills, you also feel good for giving back to the community. While a lot of not for profit organisations don’t have structured intern programs, they are likelier to be easier to get an intern / work experience placement because they are always actively seeking volunteers. Don’t be afraid to shoot through an email with your resume asking if they have any positions available in your field, they’ll appreciate the interest and extra help!
Attend a career and internship day
Your university will probably hold regular career and internship days. These events are prime time to connect with employers about their internship programs and find out a little bit more about their company. What’s great is that you’re talking face to face with someone, so make a good impression, be interested, and fire away with the questions. It’s a good idea to get the business card of who you spoke to, so you can follow up. They will be talking to a lot of students that day, follow up in the next few days and make sure to send your resume through.
So you’ve been invited to an interview? Congrats! Just like any job interview, do your research. Find out about the company, who they are, what they do, and any other relevant information. Make sure you go to the interview on time, well presented and prepared, there’s no need to look too over the top, after all you’re a student, not a company executive, but don’t look like you just woke up either. Bring extra copies of your resume, cover letter, academic transcript, and any other paperwork. And from there all you have to do is be yourself, and win over the interviewers, easy, right?
And don’t forget to always follow up!
Let me know in the comments if you’ve done an internship. What was the most valuable thing you learnt?