As the nature and scope of education and work are constantly redefining themselves, internships have gathered importance and standing never seen before. Increasingly internships are playing an important role in the lives of college students to help them choose and navigate through a career path. They can be viewed as a pathway from education to employment, giving students the practical experience they need while they are deciding what domain of operation suits them the best.
While there is no doubt about the benefits that internships bring along, land your dream internship might be a little harder than it looks. Fortunately, there is no rocket science behind getting the internship you desire, but following certain tips will augment your chances of landing it. Follow these 9 tips and no power in the world can stop you from working with the organization of your choosing.
Be Clear on your Objective for your Internship
To begin with, it is very important that you have a clarity of objective before starting any hard work. Make a list of the domains of operation that interest you and you would want to apply in. Once you’re clear about the area you wish to intern and get experience in, enlist the top employers that offer internships in that area. A clear list of interest areas and potential employers will help you decide where you should be applying.
This clarity of objective must be followed by comprehensive research about the profiles and well as the organization you aspire to work for. Make sure you get detailed information about the eligibility criteria as well as the application process. This research will help you prepare better and make a great first impression.
Create an Impressive LinkedIn Profile
It is common knowledge today that anyone you meet goes through your social media profiles to get a glimpse of you. When it comes to professional connections, individuals tend to check LinkedIn profiles. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date and you have added all relevant experiences. Adding volunteering opportunities can add value to your profile.
To make your profile attractive, add short descriptions about your past experiences, highlight your profile, the role you performed, the impact you created and the learnings you received. Simply adding an experience devoid of any content looks unprofessional and incomplete. If you can get genuine recommendations for your profile, that will be a cherry on the top.
Build Networks and Connections
An important step in your journey towards landing your dream internship is making new connections. Once you identify what are the core areas you wish to pursue, it is best to meet and network with experts from the domain. Not only can such new connections become potential employers for you in the future, they can also serve as mentors and provide you with adequate guidance on how to land your dream internship.
Additionally, connecting with new people opens up their networks to you that you can leverage from. Networking while seeking an internship can thus, ensure dual benefits, of getting you access to the right people and learning valuable lessons on the way.
Leverage Existing Relationships
While it is true that building and nurturing new networks can help you land your dream internship, however, one must not overlook the power of existing ones. Interact and engage with your family members, friends, professors and other people within your network. More often than not, existing relationships can pave way for new and rewarding networks. Thus, it is important to invest quality time in connecting with people you already know and exploring how you can leverage from it. All in all, networking is the key to unleashing your potential.
Learn New and Relevant Skills
It comes as no surprise that technical and hard skills are changing at the speed of light. Increasingly, organizations are looking for students with relevant skills like digital marketing, content creation, robotics, etc. The skill sets that landed your parents their first jobs are next to extinct today.
If you’re counting on those skills to land your dream internship, it’s time you reconsider. Pick up new skills in addition to the conventional knowledge you imbibe from your college course work. Additionally, don’t limit yourself to a single skill set, rather gather a diverse skill set to ensure that your portfolio and profile stay relevant in the days to come.
Enroll in Online Courses
Following from the point above, the best way to diversify your skill set is by enrolling in online courses. Online portals like Coursera offer a plethora of e-courses that students can enroll in and refine their skills set. Such courses can supplement the skills you pick up in the course of your academic pursuits.
Most of these courses have international affiliation and come with credible certifications. Completion of the course can add to your profile and portfolio. Thus, such courses can help you polish your existing skills. Additionally, you can add new ones to your bucket as well as help you build credibility with certificates.
Build Soft Skills
While we just discussed hard skills that can help you land your dream internship, however, unless they are complemented by a strong set of soft skills, you may be far off. Soft skills include leadership and interpersonal skills, communication and public speaking, teamwork and problem-solving attributes, etc.
More and more individuals come with refined hard skills and technical knowledge. Thus, employers look for soft skills while picking the right candidate to intern with them. In fact, soft skills will not only help you land your dream internship but will also be instrumental in helping you grow and progress there.
Submit an Outstanding Application
While all the above-mentioned tips focus on what you can do before you actually apply, your moment of truth commences with the application process. To land your dream internship, it is imperative that you submit an extraordinary application that instantly attracts eyeballs. Make sure that your application is completely filled. Incomplete applications lead to direct rejection. Try to incorporate all your relevant experience and achievements.
However, present it in a subtle manner, so as not to portray yourself as a showoff. Add an impressive cover letter too. Play on your strengths and mention details about your interest in the internship. Highlight what makes you the perfect candidate over the other 1000s of applications received. Your application is your first virtual impression. Make sure you fill it the way you would want your potential employer to identify you as.
Focus on the Interview
Finally, the last step in landing your dream internship is acing the interview. If you follow all the aforementioned tips, 9 out of 10 times, you will receive the interview call. There are certain things that you must keep in mind to perform well at your interview. Firstly, don’t be late at any cost and dress professionally. Secondly, display confidence, but don’t let any overconfidence reflect. Thirdly, answer all questions calmly and highlight what makes you the right choice. Finally, ask questions and follow up in a few days in case you don’t get a response.
To cut a long story short, there is no secret recipe to landing your dream internship. However, if you follow these simple tips, your chances of landing it will augment exponentially. To conclude, just make sure that you play by your strengths. Leave a great impression on your employer and you will land your dream internship.