"Coffee runs, press bag-stuffing, paper filling, email organizing. Welcome to the glamorous world of interning!"
Landing an internship can be very very tricky, challenging, and competitive. To make it all better, the number of college graduates is increasing rapidly every year, which means the competition just got fiercer! However, that does not mean things need to get ugly. No lying, cheating, manipulating needed!...seriously. You just got to do your best, work your way up the career ladder...legally, and if anything at all, start early & be prepared in every way possible.
Here are 5 basic tips that will make the process easier for you!
1. Master the Art of the Cover Letter:
To have your best shot at your resume being tossed in to the email trashcan among a 'bajillion' other applicants', get your application noticed with a cover letter. A three concise paragraphed letter that conveys your job qualifications and skills, professional desires/goals, and your unique personality. Basically summarize your resume, add a personal touch, and sell yourself in this letter. Don't write up a research paper, otherwise into the trashcan it will go.
One thing, always remember to address it personally so it doesn't look copy-pasted, nor like a generic letter you sent to 20 other potential employers (At the most, if you got no names (although you should be able to fish one out of the ad or company's website, address it to Dear Hiring Manager, and definitely have specific references to the company's name/department, etc within the letter, saying how you would fit their company's corporate culture and job description!)
2. Be Passionate:
It's the look in your eye (apparently, according to the interviewers/employers). the excited, but not immature, unsophisticated, but composed, eager tone in your voice. If you really want it and are prepared for it you will show it. Of course an intern's job may not be ideal, but being actively involved, i.e. dealing with press-bag goodies, or making coffee runs can be just as exciting if you make it. Being actively involved can be way better than being stuck in a cubicle, and definitely a great way to get your foot in the industry and get a feel for it.
3. Do Your Homework:
And by that I mean know the company, know how they work, what kind of corporate culture they have, find out a bit about the interviewer if you can - you might/can discuss about projects that they are working on, or anything regarding their company. Be up to date with recent product launches, press placements, social media updates, etc. It only take about an hour or two anyways to find out this information.
4. Demonstrate strong oral and written communication skills.
Every employer is looking for a student/intern that can communicate clearly, efficiently, and concisely. None of that stuff you did in English class, i.e. writing 500 words on what the color of the door represents in the scene (I bet the author never even meant that symbolization to be there! haha). If you can write and talk clearly and effectively you will not only land the internship but be able to keep it and keep the people around you happy! Always, always spell check. And since your letter and resume is what you start off with, have a fresh pair of eyes read through and check it for you.
5. Say yes
Every little job, as tedious as it can be, say yes to the job. From photocopying, to writing and organizing emails, doing a coffee run, or nine, whatever it may be, do it. Be careful, overrating the job to be easy may cause ignorance and carelessness to pour in, and you could get the simplest job wrong, do it right - but don't take forever - and it will highlight your eagerness and please your boss, encouraging them to give you tasks with more responsibility! Everyone starts at the bottom.
Even worst case scenario, if you end up interning at an office that has nothing to do with the career path you're going for, not only will you get exposure, but most of all, you will gain general business etiquette and how-to's. Skills such as how to behave in a meeting, knowing your place as an intern, how to run a photocopy machine, how to problem solve with no resources directly available to you, how to dress, deal with people, etc, etc. can all be advantageous skills and knowledge that will always be helpful to you!
So don't worry, everyone starts at the bottom, and one more meaningful thing to put on your resume to show experience!