A fall internship can have an incredibly meaningful impact on your overall career trajectory –– you can learn a lot about the workplace, what you like (and don’t like), gain new skills, and meet potential mentors and even future employers.
You may be shooting for an internship at somewhere like Google or Apple, but don’t be fooled; you can gain valuable experience anywhere you intern, so long as you’re willing to be observant, open-minded and unafraid to ask questions.
1. Narrow down your direction
Before you do anything, it will save you loads of time to have a clear understanding of what you’re looking for. This is true for… just about anything you do in your adult life, too! So it’s good practice.
Make sure you narrow your search by a few filters.
Doing some of this brainstorming early on will help guide your search and limit the work you’ll need to do to get your dream internship.
2. Perfect your resume
Ah, the resume. Some dread it, some love it. Either way, you need to make sure it’s crisp, because it will be one of the first impressions you’ll make on a hiring manager.
The career counselor at your school will likely have resume templates to choose from, and in most cases, you can schedule meetings with a counselor to go over building your resume. For each application, you can make your candidacy stronger by tweaking your resume to fit that opportunity. If your resume is one size fits all, you’re not doing it right! Use words from a specific job listing in your resume to reflect that your skills and experience match the internship you want!
3. Use LinkedIn
LinkedIn is for everyone, regardless of age!
First and foremost, make sure your profile is set up. Then, it’s time to get networking. Here are a few things you can do to make yourself a better internship candidate and find more postings:
Setting up informational interviews with alumni, or even just people who work in your desired industry, is a fantastic way to learn more about the work and get your foot in the door. Asking (while making *very* clear that you know their time is valuable!) never hurts –– just get the tone and the approach right by acknowledging that they may be very busy.
4. Go straight to the source
There is no rule that says you can’t email a hiring manager or office directly and inquire about internships. Some companies won’t list their openings, so it’s just a matter of sending the inquiry!
Other times, smaller companies, agencies and startups have the flexibility to add a role for the right person. It’s not uncommon for people to do the outreach and find that a small organization has the ability to create a role, or at least a project, for them. Don’t assume that there aren’t opportunities lying just beneath the surface.
5. How’s your social look?
Assume that unless you have private accounts, a hiring manager will find your Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, or Facebook. Even a private account will show them your bio, handle, profile picture, and so on.
So, clean up your socials –– make sure the you that you’re presenting on social media is something a hiring manager would deem appropriate. And if *all* of your content is questionable… it’s best to just go incognito and lock your account to public viewing. Better safe than sorry, and whether or not you think it’s fair, you might end up with a missed opportunity because of something on your social media.
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