Applying for internships is a common task for almost every college student. Not only do they provide college credit, but they can also teach you relevant skills in your desired field. It can be nerve-racking to think about what you’re going to do after graduation, so consider getting an internship as step one to finding your perfect career path. Here are critical steps to follow when applying for your first internship.
1. Identify the type of internship you are want to apply for
First things first, identify the type of internship you want to apply for by thinking of your skills, major, experiences, and dream job. There are endless possibilities but keep in mind businesses and organizations are going to look for specific majors/degrees to fill their positions. Keep your search in your designated area that fits your skills and experiences. Once you find positions that match your requirements, then consider location, company, and other factors.
Networking is an excellent addition to making yourself stand out at a business and get your foot in the door. It offers many benefits that can assist you in your internship and future career. Networking allows you to improve your skill sets by interacting with professionals, gaining access to resources that may promote your career development, and can give you a better chance in a specific job market.
2. Edit, revise, and update your resume
Spend some time polishing up your resume. Your internship ready resume shouldn’t consist of high school sports and activities anymore. Include campus involvement, relevant jobs, and skills and experiences that will allow you to stand out from the other applicants. Remember to tailor your resume to fit the organization or business you are applying to.
While you may not always be asked for references during the internship application process, it will be essential to have some ready. Come prepared with two or three references set up before you attend an interview. The last thing you need to have prepared, even if unnecessary, is a cover letter. Like references, most internships may not require you to submit one; however, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
3. Know application deadlines
One of the most important steps when applying for an internship is to know the submission deadlines. The internship coordinator or hiring manager likely will not consider your application if it comes in late. The sooner that you submit your application, the better. This may show the recruiters that you are interested in their position. It may be helpful to create a document with all application requirements and deadlines for each internship.
4. Submit your application
Lastly, it is time to submit your application. Make sure that you have completed all of the requirements, if you are missing a document, your application may automatically be thrown out. Make sure to watch your email for a follow up about your submission and always send a thank you letter or email to show your interest and appreciation for the business’s time. Once you land an internship, it wouldn’t hurt to send another thank you for choosing you to represent their position.
Remember, if you don’t receive your desired internship position, there are plenty of other opportunities out there. Consider having a backup plan in case your first choice falls through.
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