A successful candidate uses every tool to find one of the many great internships that are there for the taking. Coincidentally, the skills and motivation that will help you land a great internship will be the same tools needed to land your first real job.
Here are five things you can do now to land an internship that can help you build real-world work experience.
Believe it or not, just behind the seemingly impenetrable doors of the companies you’re trying to get into, lies chaos. Many companies have only recently started posting jobs. Some just listed them today.
Start hunting job sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter and CareerBuilder. Leverage your LinkedIn profile, connections, and the site’s job search feature. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile – create one now.
There are dozens of other career sites out there and you should try those too. Companies and career sites will want your resume, of course, so if you haven’t updated yours, now’s the time.
Let’s start with your educational institution. Talk to your professors and career advisors.
Recruiters often hold career fairs at schools, so there’s an established relationship there. Personal recommendations count for a lot with most companies, so your school may just come through for you.
Alumni of your school can also be of help. They’re often motivated to help a job-seeker who attended their alma mater. LinkedIn can help you identify alumni in a company you hope to join.
Ask your parents to introduce you to their professional contacts and help you search for opportunities. Don’t be afraid to put the word out to all you know – even on Facebook. Networking is vital, and referrals are one of the best ways to land a job. Remember, looking for an internship is a full-time job.
No two recruiters and hiring managers are alike. Some are well-organized and others are not. Regardless, in this day and age there are plenty of ways to reach out.
In addition to LinkedIn, use Facebook and other social media. When you get a response, use that channel unless they steer you toward another.
Sending a single note and expecting to get results doesn’t work in today’s fast paced world. Make sure you are consistent in your search and follow-up on every possible lead. And don’t be shy, ask for referrals and advice from your professional connections.
Prepare like a pro
If you don’t have a professional resume, create one. Develop an elevator speech about yourself, your skills and what value you believe you will provide to a company.
Research the company and have a list of questions going into the interview. An internship can be the stepping stone to a future full-time position with the company, so treat it like a real job interview.
Most of all, maintain a positive outlook while networking and interviewing for your summer internship. Companies are attracted to positive people who bring a fresh and new perspective to the work environment, so get out there and sell yourself.
Good luck and have fun with it!
Joanie Courtney is the chief workforce analyst at EmployBridge.