By Ann Blasick
Starting your internship search may be the hardest part of the process! Conducting a job search can be a daunting task, but it can become much less overwhelming when broken into these six easy steps:
1. Develop a Perfect ResumeMake Sure Your Resume is Perfect. Don't Panic! Please note that when I say perfect, I’m referring to your formatting, grammar and presentation of information and not your credentials. For instance, you don’t need to have a 4.0 GPA or be president of six organizations to land a great internship. You do, however, need to capture in a succinct, accurate, and attractive manner all that you’ve learned and accomplished thus far in your college career.
2. Check Out All Available ResourcesFind Out About Available Resources: Meet With Your Internship Advisor. They can help you with both step one and two. Ask about job databases, career fairs, info sessions, alumni directories, professional organizations, and any other resources that may lead to a great internship.
3. Engage in Some Soul Searching
It’s normal to have a blurry view of what type of company you want to intern for and what type of work you want to do. There are so many possibilities at this point in your life, and that’s a very exciting thing! But you do need to ask yourself some hard questions, and you can use the resources your internship advisor gives you to help.
Read through internship postings to find out what types of jobs someone in your major typically does. You will notice that certain jobs and companies jump out at you. For instance, if you are a mechanical engineering major, you may begin to realize that your dream internship is in the power industry or is designing control systems.
4. Make A ListNow it’s your turn to make a list! Note that at this point you haven’t yet applied to any internships. It’s now time to move from planning to action. Prioritize the top 10–20+ internships that are of interest to you. Yes, 10-20+! Remember the economy is not in your favor so you need to balance that out by going for quantity.
5. Write a Killer Cover LetterNever underestimate the importance of a good, solid cover letter. Your cover letter should convey to your potential employer why you are excited about interning for their specific company and how your past experience makes you a good fit for their specific internship. (Note that I’ve used the word ‘specific’ twice.) When applying for a job, I personally print out the job description so I can highlight the items I want to address in my cover letter. Then I attack them one-by-one. Here’s the secret to cover letters: they take time! You’ll need to spend a dedicated chunk of time to write a good cover letter for each job. Have someone you trust, such as your internship advisor, look over your cover letters before submitting them.
Applying for an internship is the easy part. You’ve got a great resume and great cover letters. You have a list of internships that excite you. Now you just need to submit the information that each company is requesting via their corporate website or your campus job database. If the company doesn’t have an internship posted, don’t dismay. You can still send them a cover letter and resume inquiring about opportunities. Also, check your campus alumni directory or alumni LinkedIn group
to look for alumni who work at your target companies and begin the process of networking
to uncover those unadvertised opportunities.