Intro: HUMANS NATURALLY STRIVE TO DO BETTER. WE ALL WANT TO BE THE BEST POSSIBLE VERSIONS OF OURSELVES. GETTING THERE JUST REQUIRES A LITTLE WORK. IF YOU WANT TO BE A BETTER STUDENT, EMPLOYEE, MOTHER, DAUGHTER OR SIGNIFICANT OTHER YOU CAN BE, AND HOPEFULLY I CAN HELP. WHILE I’M NO EXPERT, I AM PRETTY GOOD AT FINDING PEOPLE WHO ARE EXPERTS AND GETTING THEIR ADVICE. THAT’S WHAT I HOPE TO DO OVER THE NEXT NINE WEEKS, WITH A SERIES OF BLOG POSTS ALL ON THE SUBJECT OF “HOW TO BE BETTER.”
Lord knows internships are on the front of any college students mind. I guess I can’t speak for everyone, but they’re certainly a constant worry for me. In the past internships were an extracurricular typically utilized only by the most enterprising students. Now it’s essentially a requirement for anyone who doesn’t want to be jobless after college. This means competition is steep. The good news is that there are certain things that you can do to enhance your chances of landing a position that will provide you with the skills and experience necessary to succeed in whatever your chosen field is.
1. Use your cover letter to tell a story
NPR has a great article about the do’s and don’t’s of writing a cover letter. They’re first tip is to tell a story, rather than simply repeating what’s in your resume. This is where you can express yourself, show off your skills as a writer and make yourself stand out.
2. Have someone else edit your resume and cover letter
There is no bigger turn off for potential employers than blatant spelling and grammar errors. Anything you submit for an internship position should be essentially perfect. This is your best work. Submitting something with errors shows you’re not capable of operating on a professional level.
3. Start applying as early as possible
Get your foot in the door first by submitting as early as possible. It shows you’re organized and ambitious. If you are applying for fall internships, start sending in materials around June or July. If you are applying for a spring internship, you should be looking in October or November. The bigger companies often have very early summer deadlines. A lot of the media internships I’ve been applying to have their deadlines for summer internships super early. It’s easy to miss them if you’re not on the ball.
4. Customize your application materials for each internships
Recruiters can tell if you’ve submitted a generic packet that’s likely been received by all the other companies in town. Customizing shows you care enough about the company toreally take time on your application. This is important because nobody wants to hire an intern that doesn’t care about their company. To best customize your materials, print out the internship or job listing and go through it with a highlighter. Think of it this way, they are telling you exactly what should be on your resume or cover letter in the listing. For example, if the company says they want someone who is social media savvy, make sure your resume speaks to your social media experience.
5. Apply for as many as possible
As the old saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. It may seem like one internship is guaranteed, but nothing in life is ever set. Having options is one of the best things you can do for yourself. To make sure you land something, apply for at least 10-20 internships every 2-3 weeks.