Internship, internship, internship. For many majors, this seems to be the biggest advice your professors stress to you. Internships can help you gain new skills, get a taste of the real world, and network with professionals. Most importantly, it can serve as an important stepping stone into a career. Many times, interns receive a job offer from the company after graduation (that is, of course, if they do an amazing job).
When I heard how important internships were as a public relations major, I jumped headfirst. The first semester I was here, I interviewed for two positions, and I luckily got an offer from one. I was so proud to be a second semester sophomore and have an internship. That was the stepping stone to my summer internship, my former job with Campus Recreation, my current internship, and one I was offered for the summer. There are many things I have learned over the past year about obtaining an internship…
- Think about the big picture. Do your research ahead of time and find what companies and internship programs look most intriguing. You can either do a Google search, use internship search websites, or utilize Lakerleads, a free system for SUNY Oswego students. There is no such thing as Inquiring too early. Some companies have their hiring done by December or January for the summer season, whereas others don’t start interviewing until March. However, it’s much better to stay on top of the game and apply as soon as possible.
- Call the company’s office and ask for more information or make an appointment to come in to shadow a professional. When it comes to the hiring process, you will stand out and since they will recognize your name or know your face and how you interact with others, you will be more likely to get a call back.
- ALWAYS send a cover letter with your resume, unless the company’s page says specifically not to. It shows that you went the extra mile.
- Once you send in your resume and cover letter, don’t wait for them to contact you. Follow up within a week or two either by email. If a week later, you don’t receive a response, call the office and ask for an opportunity to come in for an interview. This method has worked for me multiple times, and it is one of the reasons I landed my past summer internship.
- Before the interview, make sure that you have a considerable amount of information about the company. The interviewers may ask what you know about the company. Additionally, have a list of questions prepared to ask towards the end. If you don’t have anything to ask, it may look as though you’re not interested in learning more about the company.
- For the interview, show up 10 minutes early and look the part. I would recommend a suit because the more professional you are, the more seriously they will take you.
- Nerves are almost always an emotion before an interview. But don’t let them take you over to the point that you feel your mouth dry up, your palms get sweaty, and your heartbeat thumping out of your chest. Take a deep breath and try to let all your anxiety go. Interviews are not a one-way communication process; they are supposed to be a conversation, so let your personality come out and be yourself.
- ALWAYS send a thank you note. No, I am not referring to a quick and boring email. I am saying the old fashioned method – a hand written thank you note mailed to the office of the person who interviewed you.
Although internship hiring is done for the current semester, think about the future. What skills do you need to gain and what experience is recommended for the internship you want? Look for the internships that will give you what you want, and go for it.
My mom always tells me, “You don’t get in life what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.” In other words, you have to fight for what you want. If you’re applying for a prestigious internship program, think creatively and make yourself stand out from the rest. Perseverance is key, and when employers see how badly you want something, that might just be your winning ticket.
Just remember, you win some, you lose some. You might have an amazing interview and feel great afterwards, but don’t get the offer. Keep your head high and continue on. It’s true that when one door closes, another opens.