By Katie Roth
Students – as 2020 draws to a close, the best time to start looking for an internship is right now. Most companies determine their summer internship candidates by the end of the year and are reviewing by the time your peers are applying in March. Distinguishing yourself is even more vital in the pandemic, which is why RC Search Group has gathered these tips to get you started:
- Many students are having success in 2020 by working within their Alumni Network. Those who ask often receive – students have gotten great advice, interviews and even job offers this way. Start with a great LinkedIn profile to find out if you have alumni in your area.
- Schedule an appointment with your college’s career resource office. You can get help with your resume as well as connect with internship resources they might have.
- Run your resume by at least 3 people. A whopping 61% of resumes have typos, so make sure yours does not. Online grammar tools and spellcheck are useful but won’t catch homophobes (are, our) or common typos like manager versus manger.
- Develop a clear objective that answers why you want the internship and place it at the top of your resume.
- Research companies in your area and see if they have internship postings on their website. If not, call or e-mail the human resources department and ask. Don’t forget to check associations and non-profits related to your field as well. Remember – persistence is the hallmark of champions!
- Dramatically expand your search area! Many internships are either close to or fully remote due to the pandemic. This means you now have opportunities across the nation and even the entire world. As well, you’ll increase the number of companies and industries with which you can connect.
- LinkedIn is a great way to find specific people in departments you seek to reach. You can often reach an HR rep at an organization by finding them on LinkedIn and then using the company’s automated dial-by-last-name system. Make sure to periodically post you are actively searching for an internship. Before your interviews, check if any of your contacts work or have worked at the company and ask them for some ‘insider info.’
- Attend in-person and virtual job fairs at your school and in the community. Though companies in attendance are often seeking graduates, it is a great way for undergraduates to find out if they have internship opportunities.
- Ask what they are looking for in their interns. Make sure to have a resume and business card handy. Small touches – like mini business cards – can make a big difference!
- Handwritten thank you notes are a must. You can continue to distinguish yourself after the event and make sure the HR rep has your name, contact information and areas of interest.
- Dress for the job you want and act like someone the HR reps want to hire. Take interest and write notes while they are talking while avoiding unprofessional behavior like chewing gum or checking your phone.
- Make sure your e-mail is appropriate! SirFunksALot@yahoo.com probably wouldn’t get hired, but FirstLastCity@gmail.com just might.
- Similarly, an HR rep who hears ‘Hey its CheesePants, leave me a boogiedangle!’ in a voicemail greeting could hang up without leaving a message for you. Professionalize your voicemail greeting before you start applying!
You can build your resume, determine your work preferences, and gain valuable experience with a good internship. You will also learn a lot about the organization’s culture and if it’s a good fit or not. Good luck!