Even though you are still in college, it is not too early to start thinking about landing an internship, preferably with a reputably company. Why? Because the job market is getting increasingly competitive, which makes it difficult for recent graduates to find a job, even if you are in an exciting field such as engineering. Most employers are looking for people with experience and seeing as you have just earned your degree, you will have almost none. However, landing an internship is a great way to gain some relevant experience, and at the same time, boost your chances of getting invited to a job interview. Here are 9 crucial pieces of advice for choosing the perfect internship for yourself.
1. Research the Companies
If I were about to graduate college right now, I would do my homework first when it comes to the companies I want to apply with for an internship. It should involve more than simply browsing the company's official website. Dig up more information about their products, their position on the market, their plans for the future, as well as what sort of people they are looking to hire. This way, you will not only be able to decide whether you are interested in working for such a company or not, but you will also have the opportunity to tailor your resume to fit their preferences.
2. Don't Focus on Money
While it's certainly nice to land a paid internship, money should not play a major role in your decision. Instead, focus more on the companies where you will be able to gain experience, as well as those which are looking to grow and hire new people. If you have aced your internship, rest assured they will look to you when hiring new employees, because you are already familiar with the company, and they have a good idea about your abilities.
3. Choose Companies Where You Can Gain Experience
A lot of students get carried away when presented with an opportunity to become interns inside a large, big-name company. Keep in mind that the main goal of landing an internship is to gain relevant experience, which means you might be better off choosing a smaller company, but one which will enable you to apply and grow your skill set, and rub shoulders with the people from your industry.
4. Show Initiative
Interested in interning for a company, but they don't accept interns? That shouldn’t stop you from trying. The fact that you've sent them your resume and cover letter, even though they aren't officially looking for interns, demonstrates initiative on your part, and you would be hard-pressed to find a company out there which couldn't use people which are dedicated and passionate about their work.
5. Show off Your Projects and Relevant Hobbies
If you are applying for an engineering internship, make sure to include relevant projects which you have completed while in college, as well as those you have done in your spare time. For example, you can let them know about an app you have built, your contributions to an open-source project, or a website which you have designed. Any of these will work in yourfavor, especially because they weren't a part of the curriculum.
6. Start Networking
Apart from attending networking events and meeting executives and leaders in your industry, you can also reach out to your former mentors and advisors in college, and see if they might be able to connect you with someone who is looking for an intern. Also, you can talk to your former classmates and fellow colleagues from studentorganizations and see how they were able to land their internships. Put yourself out there and grow your network of contacts.
7. Create a Detailed LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn has over 400 million members, which is a staggering number, and one which you should have in mind when looking for an internship. For starters, you can use it to follow up with the people you have met inperson, or to connect with your friends and alumni. Perhaps they will have someone in their circles you will be able reach out to. Also, LinkedIn allows you to share a lot more information about yourself than your average resume, which provides you with a chance to attract the recruiters' attention.
8. Prepare for Your Interview
Apart from dressing for the occasion and arriving on time, you should also consider some of the questions you might ask them. For instance, you could ask about the company's products and goals, as well as their expectations from you. That way, you will come off as someone who is actually interested in the company. Also, you can expect to be asked a question that are not necessarily related to the internship itself, such as your five- year goals.
9. Inquire about a Full-Time Position
This will show the recruiters that you are truly interested in the company, even if they aren't necessarily hiring at that particular moment. There is always a possibility that they might decide to create a job position just for you, or hire you full-time, in case they are satisfied with your performance and dedication.
Your internship should not have to be stressful, because nobody expects you to be perfect. You are there to gather valuable experience that will help you land a job. With these 9 tips, you will be on your way to do so. Good luck!
Bria Pierce is a freelance writer and content editor. She writes articles on personal development, writing tips, and education. Bria earned her Bachelor’s in Theoretical Linguistics from The University of Toronto.