Sometimes, finding and landing your dream internship can seem as hard as finishing a triathlon in 30 minutes. The game of applying, prepping, interviewing and waiting can be a stressful time, but hopefully with these few tips, you’ll be on a more prepared path to reach that dream internship.
1. What is your dream?
This may seem like the simplest and thus easiest question, but sit down and really think about what your dream internship would be — not just any internship, but the internship you believe would best help you on your career path. What are you good at and what skills do you hope to use every day in your career? What type of legal structure would you like to be at — non-profit, large corporation, small business? Thinking about what skills you actually want to use at your internship along with what type of environment you want to be in can help you hone into what you’re really searching for.
2. Link up with LinkedIn
One efficient way to build your online presence in the search for an internship or job is to create that LinkedIn account, which is something the Forbes Coaches Council stresses in their article on landing your dream internship. This includes taking and posting a professional headshot (remember, professional is very far from selfie mode), building a strong summary, and keeping your experience updated and relevant. The Muse also has 31 more tips compiled by the editors for using LinkedIn, so read through and take one step closer to an impressive profile.
3. Research, research, research
Knowing your own skill set and experience is imperative for your interview, but if this is really your dream internship, familiarize yourself with the organization. Go beyond what they just present on their website (if they have one). Kathryn Williams from Her Campus suggests going even deeper — know what their most popular service or product is along with the demographic they usually serve. It might serve you well to look into their public financial information (think stock prices), recent news stories, and other indicators of business performance. Prepare yourself to stand out in your interview by doing the research to back you up.
4. Update your resume not just every year, but for every position
Another piece of great advice that seems simple but can slip through the cracks during the frenzy of application season is to incorporate keywords from the job description of your dream internship into your resume and do this for every internship you apply for. This can help your resume get past the screening software some large corporations use with their applications, as Kathryn Williams explains in the same Her Campus article referenced above. In the case you’re applying for multiple internships with different job descriptions, it would also be a good idea to review your resume to filter out irrelevant experience to make space for activities that are more fitting and applicable in relation to your desired internship.
5. It’s about presentation, in person and online
Just like how it’s important to keep your LinkedIn profile professional and up-to-date, it’s also in your best interest to maintain all of your other online profiles (any social media sites along with any information that comes up when you put your name through a search engine). This is not to say take the fun out of what you post, but it is to say be aware of what you post. It’s true that some things can never be erased from the internet, but it is possible to hide it a little better. This Lifehacker article by Alan Henry gives a detailed, three-step process on how to clean up your online presence.
For more tips, the editors at Noodle created a list of 13 crowdsourced tips from recruiters to interns alike. There are plenty more tips, tricks, and suggestions, but hopefully these few pointers can point you in a better direction. Finally, sometimes what you imagine to be your dream internship turns into your worst nightmare and an internship you thought was just a back-up plan morphs the rest of your career in line with what you’re currently doing. Try to keep an open but critical mind at your internship, because you can never determine how an internship will truly impact your career until you lean in.