Options Solutions Guest Student Blogger – Landing an Internship
As you explore your future, it is important to look beyond the classroom. There are some things you just can’t get from a textbook. Internships are great ways to try on industries, learn about office culture, and apply some of the learning you have already done.
Most people intern during the summer, but I also worked during the school year. During the school year at Own the Podium, I learned about working for a government organization, the financial side of business, and how to manage a brand/image on social media. This summer I’m working at Citizen Optimum and learning the ins and outs of the public relations business from the best in Vancouver. No, I’m not making as much money as my friends who are working in the factories or in retail, but the experience is priceless.
A lot of people don’t even know where to start in landing an internship. The first thing you have to do is prepare a resume and cover letter. Education, work experience, leadership opportunities, awards, interests, and contact information should all be included. If you can, tailor your resume to each job you are applying for. For example, if I were applying for the Toronto Maple Leafs, I would include my sports awards and list “Die hard Leafs fan” in my “Interests” section (sorry, Toronto blood).
Once your resume is ready to go, ask yourself, “What do I like?” The reason I worked for Own the Podium is because I love sports. The reason I worked for Citizen Optimum is because PR interested me. So, make a list of the fields/industries you like or want to know more about.
Next, Google! Type in your keywords and find organizations that interest you in your area. Don’t just pick one. Pick at least five. See if you can find an employee directory or a specific person that you want to work for. For example, if you were interested in working in the marketing department, find out the Marketing Director’s name and address your cover letter directly to him or her. When crafting your cover letter, make it as specific to the organization or person you want to work for as possible. Do a little research about their career and make references to it in your letter. I usually like to send my resume and cover letter by mail and by email. Some people say that makes you come off too eager, but I got interviews with everyone I approached this summer; so, it worked for me!
After sending out your resume and cover letters, it is a bit of a waiting game. If you don’t hear back from anyone in a week, it is acceptable to give them a call and ask if they received your email/package. If you don’t get a response (or get negative responses), then keep applying. If you get a response for an interview, congratulations! Shine your shoes, do your hair, and brush your teeth because it is time for you to wow your future boss.
In the interview, dress nicely, smell good (I’m serious), and be confident. They were already impressed by your resume; so, you’re half way there! Try to do a little research on who is interviewing you so you can impress them when they say (and they will say),”Do you have any questions for us?” at the end of your interview. For example, if you are applying for an internship at a car manufacturer: “I read in your biography that you worked in Italy for a few years. What are the major differences you see between the European and North American car market?” If you can’t find anything online about them say, “What’s your advice for someone wanting to get into this industry?”
What landing an internship boils down to is perseverance. Just keep going up to bat and you will hit a homerun sooner or later. It gets easier and easier the more work experience you have, as well. So, you can only go up from here! Good luck!