10 Ways To Increase Your Chances of Getting An Internship

Many internships were cut short in 2020 following the pandemic. Virtual internships were limited, leaving many recent graduates out of work and unemployed. According to CNBC, “The overall unemployment rate for March was 6%, but 20- to 24-years old are facing a 10.3% unemployment rate.” The good news is most employers are seeking to hire more interns moving forward. Students who complete internships are more likely to find full-time employment opportunities afterwards.

Here are ten ways to increase your chances of getting your desired internship.

  1. Build a Strong Resume

When creating a resume you will want to have a header including: your name, full address, phone number and email. This information is crucial for a hiring manager to know how to contact you. Another section you can add below the header is your professional objective or qualification summary that highlights your intentions and accomplishments however this is optional. But it does serve to demonstrate your achievements such as any certifications you have received or if you have any special professional or technical skills, or know foreign language. When listing your education and experience make sure that your resume is inviting to read with a clear and concise layout. Be sure to give yourself an ample amount of white space and keep the design professional and consistent. Make sure the font size is consistent throughout the document as well. Certain industries may require a specific resume format and don’t type so be aware of that as well. If you use bullets to list your qualifications in one section, do the same for the next. Keep the margins even on all sides and any bolded sections should help guide the reader's eyes through the content so they can point out key information quickly. Your resume can be longer than one page however make sure the page break is formatted correctly and the second page contains a heading as needed. It is also helpful but not required to have a list of references such as past employers or mentors who can verify your experience and put in a good word with the hiring manager. Keep in mind when you complete your resume it may be helpful to get another set of eyes to carefully review it before submitting an internship application.

  1. Have Someone Review Your Resume

Once you have taken time to edit your resume several times the next step you’ll want to do is have another professional review your resume. This person can be from a mentor, a relative, or a friend. You will want to take their constructive criticism and feedback seriously, if they are having trouble reading or understanding your resume then so will a hiring manager. When you approach someone to review your resume, recognize their qualifications and experience with providing resume advice. Do your best to strengthen the content, style and design of your resume to have a better chance of getting a call for an interview. Be sure that your resume's content and formatting is optimized to pass through ATS (applicant tracking system). It is highly recommended to have a professional at the Career Center at your university review your resume. Chances are they have seen countless resumes. So they most likely understand what employers are looking for in a candidate and on a resume. Be sure that you understand how to support your accomplishments, skills and qualifications and quantify them as much as possible. Another good reason to speak with them is that they are specifically trained to help you. Make sure to take advantage of them and their experience.

  1. Get Professional Headshots

Did you know that according to LinkedIn, profiles containing headshots are more likely to receive 21 times more views than profiles without a photo. This is mainly due to employers wanting to get a strong impression of who you are. While it may be easier to take your own headshots at home, headshots taken professionally can double your chances of getting an internship. Professional headshots are typically taken in the photography studio with a neutral or solid background and special lighting so that the pure focus is on the subject. In terms of framing, the candidates shoulders and top of the bust are usually visible. It is also important to wear professional attire such as a button down shirt and blazer when taking professional headshots. But if you can not afford a professional headshot do not worry, there are other ways of obtaining the right frame. Visit the career center at your university and schedule a professional headshot. You can also reach out to your local university's art school to see if a photography student is available and willing to assist for a small fee. It may seem like a hassle at first but a little effort can go a long way to connecting you with the right internship.

  1. Research The Company

Candidates should always do research on the company they are interested in working for prior to submitting their resume and cover letter. Log on to a company’s website and see what their mission and purpose looks like. You’ll learn valuable information about the clients they work with, their business model and the general industry. Be sure to follow the company you are interested in on LinkedIn and other social media platforms to see what they represent and who they support. Do not be afraid to engage online as well by retweeting a post or leaving a comment to show your interest. This will allow you to learn more about the company and be aware of competition as well. You can expand your search by looking at news the company is featured in as well as attending events they have coming up. This research will become very useful not only for deciding what kind of industry you want to work in but also where to apply to and finally when you are ready to test your knowledge during the interview.

  1. Conduct Practice Interviews

Engaging in practice or mock interviews can help candidates reduce their stress and anxiety about the interview process. Candidates should be knowledgeable about the job they are interviewing for, dress professionally and make sure their resume is well polished. Mock interviews allow candidates to get familiar with the interview process in terms of professional etiquette and body language. For example, it is important to not cross your arms during an interview to show that you are not bored or defeated. During an interview with a potential employer you should get comfortable making eye contact as well to show that you are engaged in the conversation. When conducting a virtual interview it is crucial to be in a quiet space with good lighting and make sure there are no distractions in your frame. Do not be afraid to receive constructive feedback about your mock interview, this will help you identify weaknesses and aid you in identifying the better ways to answer the most unanticipated questions when it’s time for the real thing.

  1. Attend Job Fairs

While online job searches can be useful, attending job or career fairs can give you certain advantages you simply can not get through an online job search. For starters job fairs are a great place to do mock interviews. Even if you do not see any companies that you are interested in working for, speaking with recruiters to see what they are looking for in job candidates can be a great advantage. It also allows you to boost your confidence and communication skills as you speak with other professionals. Attending job fairs gives you an opportunity to show employers your personality and professionalism. It is important to practice dressing professionally and become comfortable showcasing your best talents for recruiters to notice. Attending job fairs not only expands your knowledge regarding companies you are interested in working for, but it will also give you a better understanding of what industry you want to work in.

  1. Tap Into Your Network

Look for a professional with experience in whatever role, company or industry you are most interested in. Think about if there is a professor who has experience working in the industry you are passionate about? Do you have connections within your social circle? If not, reach out to companies on their website, join communities on LinkedIn and social media platforms. If you are seeking to make a professional connection in hopes to help with a future job, sending a brief email to schedule a meeting or making a brief phone call can help you build a reputable network. You can also reach out in-person to conduct a meeting to learn more information about their experience in their career field. Finding out what they love about the company they are involved in or as well as asking for any advice they could offer about pursuing a similar career field can be helpful.

  1. Ask Questions Before, During and After Interviews

This may sound obvious but for many going into their first interview can be intimidating. It is important to prepare questions before an interview that you believe the employer may ask you so you can give the best responses. This will help calm your nerves and ease stress during the interview. Then, you’ll want to pose a series of questions to the interviewer about the position such as what your main role and responsibilities will be, what the expectations are for your position, what the company culture is like and if there are any opportunities for growth. This will allow you to have a clearer picture of what kind of work you will be doing and what employers expect of you moving forward. Keeping these goals in mind will be important when deciding if the position aligns with your career aspirations. Asking questions not only demonstrates how engaged you are in the interview, but also that you are interested enough to be considering your future with the company.

  1. Experience Comes In All Shapes & Sizes

One common misconception many people make is thinking they have no experience in their chosen career field so they have no experience whatsoever. But this simply is not true. There are so many interpersonal or soft skills that can help you develop career readiness. These interpersonal skills are: Critical thinking, oral and written communication, leadership, professionalism, teamwork, technology, career and self-development, equity and inclusion. There are many ways to gain professional experience through volunteer work, participating in school organized clubs, and athletic, technical, or even language skills. Even if your experience is in tutoring, babysitting, or manual labor it is valuable. If you are looking to gain more professional experience, become a HOPEFUL Inc volunteer by signing up here: https://www.hopefulinc.org/volunteerprogram

  1. Follow Up With Hiring Manager

It is highly recommended to send a thank you email within 24 hrs after conducting an interview. Following up with the employer you are seeking to work for demonstrates your interest in the position. The thank you email also gives you an opportunity to include any other information you want employers to know about your certifications, links and professional skills you may not have had a chance to share during the interview process. As employers consider top candidates your name will also pop up as a potential hire. Be sure to include anything you discussed during your interview to make the email more personable. While keeping the email formal it should also sound like it is coming from a real person not an email template. Following these tips will give you the best opportunity to make the most out of your internship process and help you land that dream job!








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