16 Key Steps For Landing a Great Internship and Making the Most of It.In today’s competitive landscape, a meaningful internship can make or break a college graduate hoping to land a job in his or her field. Internships are just as much about worthwhile connections and great recommendations as they are new experiences and broadened skill sets.
Internships stand out on a resume. They signify that a student was willing to juggle his or her school schedule and commit to a job, often without pay, to gain real-world experience. And, a student who plays his or her cards right during the internship comes away with job leads and glowing reviews from important people.
We’ve been lucky to have great interns at Expio Digital Marketing. Some of our interns have even moved into permanent roles on our team. All of them have been grateful for that line on their resume, because it’s proof of the high-quality, meaningful work they did with us. And we’re happy to brag about our great interns to their prospective employers.
Internships open doors.
So, how do you land a great internship opportunity?
6 Tips for Standing Out as a Great Intern Candidate:
- Polish your resume. Your resume should be unique to you. It should be concise and completely error free.
- Include a cover letter. Don’t lean on a template for this. Take the time to write a letter specifically for the job you want, including specifics about the job duties. Add in some personal flavor. We want to get a feel for your character.
- Nail the interview.
- Whether virtual or in person, dress professionally. Bring your A game with excellent eye contact.
- Be prepared to talk about yourself and your journey.
- Be honest about areas in which you don’t have experience. If you’re not sure what “SEO” is, let us know, but tell us how excited you are to learn about it.
- Convince us you’re an innovative self learner, willing to research on your own to learn more about a skill set.
- Prove to us that you’re reliable and deadline driven.
- Come prepared with three or four questions you’re pretty sure won’t be covered in the initial conversation. This requires you to sharpen your listening skills so you don’t accidentally ask a question that was covered.
- Follow up. Send a post-interview thank-you email.
- Have a professional appearance on social media. Yes, if you’re a top candidate, we’re going to check at least Facebook and Instagram to get a better feel for the real you.
- Keep following up until you know whether you’ve got the job.
So, you’ve landed the internship… now what?
10 Tips for Being a Rockstar Intern and Making the Most of Your Experience
- Be on time. Heck, be early.
- Show an eagerness to learn, and prove that you can do your own research.
- Ask questions about company protocol, policies and workflows. Leaders know you’re going to have lots of questions. You’re new! Of course you can’t know everything! Have the courage to ask and not to waste time going down the wrong path with a project.
- Communicate effectively. Let your team know when you’re running late because of a doctor’s appointment. Let them know if you’re blocked on a project because of an internal log jam.
- Bring a pen and paper or a laptop to every meeting. Never be caught unprepared to take notes or jot great ideas that pop up.
- Ask for work. If you’re caught up, ask your bosses what you can assist with. This opens up opportunities to learn more.
- Turn your work in on time or, better yet, early.
- Make sure your work is proofed and polished. Spelling errors and sloppy mistakes are major red flags.
- Pitch great ideas. Show your leaders your creativity.
- Ask for feedback. This can apply to your work and your professional demeanor. You can get amazing coaching from good bosses. Willingness to accept criticism of all kinds is a sought-after character trait.
Get Recommendations and Make Business Connections
Toward the end of your internship, hopefully you’ve established a great rapport with your leaders. At this point, ask them for letters of recommendation, and ask them to introduce you to some meaningful connections in the industry. The more people you can meet and build relationships with, the better your chance of landing a great job.