If you’d like to apply for an internship, you probably already know that it’s the best way to get a job after you graduate from college. As someone who has had internships in school and now manages internship programs, I strongly encourage all students to try out prospective fields and learn the tools of their trade.
Plus, internships are amazing learning experiences that can add depth to your education because you will discover new interests and talents, and make connections with professionals who can help you build your career.
So, how do you get an internship? Just ASK.
I’ve recruited and managed interns for a couple years now, so I’m going to give you three simple pieces of advice. I created a mnemonic device for you to remember: ASK.
If you see an internship listing you want and your resume is updated. Apply. Apply immediately. Do not pass go and collect $200, do not wait until after your paper is done next Monday. Early applicants usually have the best chances for an internship, so get it together and apply right away.
Why? Hiring managers are busy and if they find the right candidate early, before they have to sift through 100 resumes, they are going to inquire about that person (employers love interns that are qualified and eager).
Send the Correct Information
You don’t know how many times I’ve received (cut-and-pasted) generic cover letters, emails addressed to the wrong person and poorly written resumes. If you can’t even follow simple application instructions, or put together one clean document without any typos or formatting issues, why would someone want to work with you?
This sounds harsh, but it’s true. You’re probably a great candidate who deserves the position — hiring managers WANT to know how much you rock, so don’t sell yourself short by not paying attention to the details.
How do you send the right information? Read the application instructions carefully. Make sure you customize you resume, cover letter and other required documents so they demonstrate why you are the best person for the internship you seek.
Keep It Professional
When you’re writing a cover letter or speaking with a hiring manager during an interview, please, keep it professional.
For your cover letter, write well: Be clear, concise and supply the most important highlights about yourself that will make a hiring manager want to read your resume.
For your interview, speak professionally: No one wants to hear long stories or an excess of “umm, like, uh, so, and awesome.” (Hey, we’re all guilty of those, just keep them to a minimum.)
Only share facts about yourself that are relevant and applicable to the job you want. You can express your personality, but keep it within a professional context and relate it to why you are interested in interning for the prospective company.
When interns show that they know their stuff, research the company, and ask intelligent questions about what they’ll be doing — they are leagues above everyone else.
Next time you go to apply — remember, ASK, you will be one of the most competitive candidates. Good luck!