September 12, 2016

How to land your dream internship


By Jessica Sanchez–

The fall semester is in full swing and that means it’s also the start of the fall internship application process. The internship process can be grueling. But if you’re looking to land an internship for this fall or sometime in the future, here is some advice on how to get the interview, nail it, and land the job.

Start off with the application. You may have one internship that you really want above anything else. It’s good to be passionate but don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Apply for all the internships you have an interest in and keep your options open.

Keep an organized list or spreadsheet of all the internships to which you’re applying. In the list, you should include the company name, the company contact information, application deadline, any required materials and the date you submitted your application. This way you can keep track of when to follow-up on your application and if they contact you, you’ll be prepared.

When you’re thinking of applying to an internship, make sure you do some research on the company or brand and what they’re looking for in an intern. Shaina Wagner, Promotions Manager at the Kentucky Derby Festival said, “Make yourself knowledgeable on the company’s products or services. Not only should you know why you want to work there, but also how you can make yourself invaluable to the company.”

You will want to tailor your resume to fit the needs of that specific company. If the job listing mentions social media, make sure knowledge of social media is somewhere on your resume. A good tip is to have the listing in front of you while you are typing your resume.

Along with your resume you should always send a cover letter. The cover letter should be one page explaining why you’re interested in the internship, why you would make a good addition to their team and your availability. You could even use some key words from the company’s mission statement to make your materials stand out even more.

This brings me to following-up on your applications. Around two weeks after you submit your application, you should send the company an email letting them know of your interest in the internship position and making sure they actually received your application. This shows the employer that you can take initiative and you are genuinely interested in the position.

Next up is the interview. First of all, dress to impress. Yes, some companies are more relaxed than others, but dressing professionally shows the interviewer that you’re serious about the position. Sadly, this means no jeans.

For the interview, take copies of any materials and samples of work you may have done for another job or even in school. Make sure to ask questions at the end to show the interviewer that you not only have an interest in the position, but in the company itself.

The final and most important tip of them all is to not only send an email, but send a thank you card after the interview. Thank the interviewer for their time, reference something you spoke about in the interview, and tell them you hope to hear from them soon. While this isn’t a requirement, you’ll stand out among the sea of other applicants.

In today’s world, internships are a must for landing a job and starting a career.

“One of the most important things that students can do while at U of L is to get practical, real world experience. Employers today don’t care if it is called an internship, co-op, part-time job or residency,” said Stuart Esrock, Communication professor and internship director.

Esrock also confirmed that employers don’t care if a job was paid or not; experience is key. “They don’t really care whether the student received academic credit or not. All they care about is whether the student had related, real-world job experience. If students don’t have that, they are likely not a viable candidate for the job they are seeking when they graduate.”

Another great resource to utilize when trying to secure an internship is the Career Development Center. Located in the basement of the Houchens building, the CDC offers students hands-on tips, help with writing a resume and mock interviews.

It can be stressful, but if you are applying for internships currently or sometime soon just follow the three Ps: be prepared, professional and passionate.

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