Finding the perfect summer internship (or finding any internship) can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. You want something that will challenge you but fits with your career aspirations but not one you’re under-qualified for or one located somewhere you can’t afford. And the list goes on.
Finding a summer internship is frustrating. It’s a lot of time spent combing through postings to find the few that seem right for you and much, much, much more time perfecting your application, résumé, and cover letter for each position you apply for. More and more, in every field, employers are looking less for interns to teach and advise and looking more for a self-sufficient, short-term employee.
So what’s a girl to do?
KNOW YOUR STUFF
Well, for starters, you’ve gotta know what you’re doing, why, and how. You’re probably not going to get your dream internship on zero experience anymore, and the retail job you held for a few years isn’t the experience I’m talking about. Volunteer in your field, freelance until you can’t form words, and get really good at cold calls and emails.
WRITE A REALLY GREAT COVER LETTER
Your résumé could look like a million bucks, but if your cover letter is riddled with punctuation errors, lacks personality, and doesn’t talk about why the company needs you (they know they’re a great place to work, tell them more!), then you might have thrown away your shot. Personalize your cover letter to the people and company you’re applying to, and don’t be afraid to show who you are in the way your write (unless, of course, you’re applying to a strictly profesh company). Use phrases from the job description to describe yourself, and give actual examples of the skills you’re claiming to have. So you’re good at social? Tell them how good. Increased your campus mag readership by 50% in a month? Shout that, girl!
BUILD YOUR EMPIRE
I can’t say this enough. Shape yourself and your personal brand in a way that would make any employer lucky to have you. Wish you were better at something, or notice a weak spot in your repertoire? Work on it until it’s a strength. It’s hard work, especially when you’re in school, but it’ll pay off.
Once you’ve built a skill, keep record of it, and save examples in a portfolio or in reports. This is more hard evidence for future employers that you know your sh*t.
LEARN TO ACCEPT REJECTION
Even with a perfect résumé and cover letter, stellar skills, and an elevator pitch that would knock Elle Woods’ out of the park, you might still be rejected. Hiring is a tough and cutthroat business, and you never know who you’re up against. Try not to take nos and unanswered emails personally. Focus on yourself, keep trying, and it’ll happen.
Now go impress some people!
Got questions? Advice? Leave it in the comments below!
(Featured image via uxdesign.cc)