Every college student has an idea of what would be their dream internship, whether it is with a New York government agency in Albany or a position at a top accounting or media relations firm in New York City. Although the summer might seem like a distant mirage (especially with all the snow on the ground), this is actually the perfect time to be searching for that coveted summer internship. But what can you do to make yourself stand out, when there are thousands of other students vying for the same spots? Where do you start? By breaking the process into smaller steps, it becomes a whole lot easier to find and land that internship you’ve been dreaming of!
Did you know that recruiters typically spend about 6 seconds on your resume? Within that time they aren’t really checking for whether you will be a good fit either. Rather they are looking for anything to eliminate you from the applicant pool. This is why your resume must be exceptional. Triple check to make sure it is free of any grammatical errors and have someone else read over it as well. When making a cover letter avoid templates and be creative to gain the attention of potential employers. Apply your experience in classes, clubs, jobs, and previous internships to the one you are applying for. This not only demonstrates that you know what skills you possess, but also how these skills can be used in the position you want.
The career center at your school is an invaluable resource that can expose you to numerous opportunities. They can prepare you for interviews, review your resume, and even point you in the right direction for jobs and internships. Often times the campus career center will host Job and Internship Fairs at your school where you can go speak with recruiters from various businesses directly, which is a great way to get your foot in the door or even land an interview.
This is essentially an online version of your paper resume, but with a lot of added benefits! Begin by adding a professional quality image of yourself and then fill in your skills and experience. On LinkedIn you can network with professionals in the industry that you aspire to work in, and create connections. You can also search for internship and jobs on the website, and sign up for email alerts when new ones are added. LinkedIn is a great way to build a positive online presence for yourself, and let companies see the reasons why you would be a great candidate for the internship!
The internship isn’t going to just fall into your lap! You’re going to have to go out and search for it relentlessly. Go to websites like Internships.com and Indeed.com, and type in what kind of internship you are looking for and the location. Apply and follow up after a couple weeks if you don’t get a response. If you already have companies in mind that you would like to intern with, go directly to their websites and see if they have any openings available.
Much like creating a LinkedIn profile, you should create other social media accounts to display your passion for your field. Create a professional Twitter, so that you can Tweet about what’s going on in the industry and also connect with important people who are doing what you want to do. Perhaps make a blog to display your interests in long form text, which can help you stand out and also sell yourself to employers. Just make sure everything is organized and professional.
Once you finally land the interview at HyperGlobalMegaCorp, you still need to do a little bit of research to ensure that you are knowledgeable about the company before you actually go. Head to their website and learn about their goals and what they have accomplished with clients or partners. Bring questions for the interviewer to display that you are truly interested in the position. And remember, dress professionally and be on time!
Surely this isn’t going to happen overnight, nor is it going to happen easily (unless you’re just extremely lucky!). However with a bit of work and creativity, that internship of your dreams can definitely be within your reach.
Learn more about SUNY’s commitment to Applied Learning and an experiential opportunity for all students.
Atiba was an intern with SUNY's Office of New Media, who became a University at Albany graduate in English with a minor in Communications.