Though college and university equips students with the necessary skills to go out into the workplace and complete required job duties, nothing beats the experience gained from completing an internship, as this is when students get authentic, hands-on experience in their given field. Completing an internship can help students realize their passions and discover the industry in which they want to work. An internship can also help students reevaluate their dreams and passions.
I have loved many of the internships that I have completed; however, after completing a public relations internship, I discovered that the field was simply not for me. Completing the internship, however, enabled me to explore my greater passions: fashion and film.
Nonetheless, as competition continues to rise in the workplace, so does the hunt for quality internships. Each of my four internships took dedicated time and work to seek and acquire.
To save yourself from the hassle and stress of looking for an internship, here are a few tips that I have learned along the way.
1. Have a polished resume.
Meeting with an academic advisor or your campus’ career services center helps to ensure that your resume will stand out among other applicants. After having a good family friend look over my resume, I have received at least a callback from each place to whom I have sent my resume and cover letter. A resume is the first thing that employers see when they are considering who they want to hire as interns. Make sure it is sharp and polished. This means no grammatical inconsistencies or typos!
2. Cover letters are equally as important.
When constructing a resume, make sure to include a concise and sharp cover letter as well. Make the letter personal and warm. Help the prospective employer get to know you as an individual a little bit better. Show your personality in your writing, yet remain collected and professional.
3. Check LinkedIn frequently for internship opportunities.
LinkedIn helped me score my best internship at a film agency in Beverly Hills. Under the “Jobs” tab on the website, type in certain descriptions and key words to ensure maximum opportunity reach. Additionally, LinkedIn has given me connections that truly have been beneficial.
4. If a company does not have an internship post, still send out a resume and cover letter.
Sometimes, companies do not release internship posts, as many agencies do not want to sift through the plethora of applications. Still, send away! This shows a deeper interest and dedication to the companies you are applying to for experience. I have been in contact with prominent fashion and film agencies for months, which has proven to be truly beneficial.
5. Do not get discouraged.
I remember how anxious and stressed I was when first applying for internships. Keep applying. It’s fine if companies do not contact you—if you are rejected, don’t take it personally. This only means that you are destined to complete a job opportunity somewhere else.
6. Consult friends and family for advice and potential opportunities.
Talk to your friends and family members who have already been through the internship process. They may be able to steer you in a good direction and provide valuable connections to help you score an internship. In my current internship, my connection base has widened greatly. Even after I leave, I know that I will be able to begin my next endeavor with a bit more ease.
7. Be open to an unpaid internship.
Though my current internship is paid, my three previous ones have not been. I do understand that completing an unpaid internship can be discouraging, but I have also gained some invaluable experience from doing so—and they have led me to paid internships.
Internships offer valuable experience, as students prepare to market themselves for post grad. Regardless of what internship you complete, market yourself in a way that enables you to truly get as much as you can from your experience, so that you will have an amalgamation of skills to put on your resume for post-graduation job applications.