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U Musings: Tips for landing an internship

Internships are a great opportunity to experience personal growth as well as explore the different careers your degree can lead to. It is amazing to get a feel for a possible future career and see how your days will be spent. The ironic part about internships is that you need an internship to get an internship. Most companies prefer applicants who already have experience in the field they’re applying to, so that makes it particularly difficult for freshman and sophomores in college to get an internship at all. However, there are a few ways to increase your chances of getting that crucial first internship.

First, add a relevant coursework section to your application. This shows that, although you haven’t had any experience in the field, you’ve taken classes relevant to the things you’d be working on at the company. This also gives interviewers a place to start when assessing your skill level. They can ask you about the classes you’ve taken and the projects you’ve worked on in that class, giving them an idea of where you stand in the subject matter. Also, don’t be afraid to include classes you haven’t taken yet, as long as you will take them before the internship. This gives the interviewer an idea of where you will be when you get to the company.

Second, practice before you go into the interview. There will be tons of questions you know in advance and can prepare for: Why this company? What makes you a good candidate? What’s your strongest trait? What’s your weakest trait? These kinds of questions are the easiest to prepare for and answer, so make them amazing. On the other hand, some questions will be used to test your knowledge of the subject matter. These are the questions you can’t prepare for, and you’ll have to rely on what you know and have learned in your classes.

Third, get as many people to look at your resume as possible. It’s important to get more than one opinion on your resume before sending it out because one reviewer might think it’s a good resume while another might think it’s too long. Our Toppel Career Center is a great resource for this and an easy way to get an opinion of your resume. Ask your professors, friends and parents if they have time to look over your resume. They all want you to succeed and will give you many varying reviews.

Getting an internship is very difficult, but not impossible. By utilizing these tips, the chances of landing an internship get higher. However, these tips don’t guarantee anything. A lot depends on the applicant pool, your grades and how they relate to one another. Sometimes you can do everything right and still not get the internship simply because another candidate has higher grades than you, and that’s ok. The only thing you can do is keep applying and put yourself in the best position you can to get the internship. Happy applying and good luck!

Feature image courtesy Pixabay user Unsplash.

March 22, 2016

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Virginia Colkley


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