For decades now, the standard for new grads hasn’t only been to get good grades and participate in extracurricular activities; it has also been that you need to have solid internships throughout your post-secondary careers. It’s important to start getting experience as soon as you can with competition for placements sometimes even starting as early as the senior years of high school.
To be noticed throughout the job application process, and even to be able to speak of relevant work experience in interviews, employers are looking at students who have worked at that investment bank, or worked for a big-name newspaper, or even delivered coffee and called it an internship to that up and coming fashion designer. In order to get your foot in the door after graduation, you are required to crack open a window to that industry and crawl in as far as you can.
In today’s competitive marketplace there are a few ways you can land your dream internship and once you do, how to make it count:
- Spice up that resume. Companies receive hundreds of resumes and if yours doesn’t stand out with an eye’s glace you won’t even get a proper read through. Talking from personal experience, a classmate of mine who wanted to intern at Blackberry, actually ended up sending his future employer his resume inside a card with a gift of what else – summer fresh blackberries – delivered straight from the nearby farmer’s market. You bet that he got a phone call for an interview within a few hours of that gift being received.
- Network, Network, Network. We have heard it hundreds of times from our professors, our mentors and our peers but nothing hits home more with employers than an eager face who wants to hear about how they got to where they are in their company. Think about it – wouldn’t you want a groupie who wants to be just like you?
- Try and remember that an internship is also a good way to learn about yourself. Maybe you always thought you wanted to be a columnist because of Carrie Bradshaw, but once landing that internship you realized that you can’t work under deadlines or you actually hate pitching stories. Was that internship a waste? Absolutely not! Every job is a learning experience and the skills you acquired can be translated into other valuable tools that you will now be equipped with once you leave the comforts of school.
- Make your internship a vacation! How is this possible when I’m expected to be in an office every day from 9 – 5? The answer is simple – intern in a city where you have always wanted to travel. Obtaining a student work visa is easier than you think and there are even companies that can help you find those internships in the city of your dreams. Dream Careers is an example of a company where you pick the city and they will organize virtual interviews. Once you land the job, they will even help you apply for the visa; all you need to worry about is what to pack in your suitcase!
Before you start making summer plans of waking up every day at noon and laying out by the pool, consider how valuable a summer of interning and testing out your desired industry will make you come graduation day.