Though the job market is still tough, particularly for recent college graduates, internship numbers are one the rise. Internships can be a great way to develop networking and connect with potential employers prior to graduation.
To find the ideal internship for you, first determine what your interests and values are. What kind of environment would be best for your personality and temperament? It’s important to know the answers to these questions so that you don’t waste your time interning at a company that’s not a good fit.
Once you’ve determined what you’re looking for, it’s time to start searching for internships. It’s essential to take the time to figure out ideal locations (based on how practical and affordable they are), fields of interest (including paid or unpaid internships), and do research on your list of potential companies.
Next, narrow your list down to two or three companies. Reach out to potential contacts and do your best to network with the companies. Be sure to remain professional and refrain from contacting people you’re not personally familiar with without proper introduction.
Once you’ve networked, you can apply for the internship. Compose a cover letter and résumé and have them looked over by someone. Don’t try to circumvent the established method of submitting your information. Even if you personally know someone who works for the company, it’s best to follow the submission instructions and then later mention your contacts in an interview.
If you do get asked to an interview, come dressed professionally and be at least five minutes early. Make sure the interviewers know that you are serious and ready to impress. Don’t be afraid to ask questions—this will show employers that you want the company to be a good fit as much as they do.
After the interview, follow up with a thank you note. After that, wait out the allotted response time frame. If you have not heard from employers by then, wait an extra few days and then contact them with your inquiry. If you do get offered the internship, respond promptly. If not, analyze what could have gone better.