Applying to internships is almost always a stressful process and can leave applicants feeling burnt out. Fall internship applications will be opening soon, making this the perfect time to brush up on your application habits and gather some tips to make the process easier!
Take your time searching.
Applying for internships is not a quick process. Though you might find the “perfect” internship early in your search, it is important that you continue searching and applying. Indeed’s Career Guide recommends applying to at least 20 internships. Be sure to explore a variety of job posting websites and keep in mind that some companies may only post jobs on their own website. It is also important to note that you do not need to do every application in one day. Work internship searching into your weekly schedule and do it gradually. Rushing applications often does more harm than good.
Know what you want, but don’t be afraid to do something different.
When looking at internship postings, it’s always good to have an idea of what kind of internship, company and/or location you could see yourself working in. However, do not hesitate to look for and apply to positions that might not fit those ideas. You never know what amazing opportunities you might miss if you stay too focused on just one dream opportunity.
Adapt your resume and cover letter.
Try to avoid submitting the exact same resume for each application. Tailor your resume to highlight the skills and experiences that make you an outstanding candidate for each specific position. You also should refrain reusing the same cover letter every time you apply to a position. Take the time to personalize each letter. Avoid writing what can be found on your resume and use the letter to explain why you would be a valuable hire.
Keep track of all your applications.
As you continue to apply for different internships, it becomes difficult to keep track of important details. Creating a spreadsheet with information about all of the positions you have applied for can be so helpful! Including when you applied and when the application closes will allow you to properly send out any follow-up messages. Listing the qualifications, requirements and other information from the job posting in your spreadsheet enables you to adequately prepare for interviews.
Prepare for your interviews.
You get an interview (yay!), but you must remember this does not mean you have the job. If a company offers you an interview, it is crucial that you spend time preparing for it. This is your chance to really show them you deserve this internship! As you research the company and the position, begin to think of ways to emphasize why you would be a good fit and form potential questions to ask the interviewer. Jot down any notes or questions you have and bring them with you to the interview.
Ask for help.
You should never feel uncomfortable reaching out to your peers, teachers, and mentors to ask for help preparing to search, apply and interview for an internship. Having someone to review your cover letter or to run a mock interview with you does not make you vulnerable or a poor candidate, it helps you become a more prepared candidate.
Be confident and don’t give up on yourself.
The internship application process can be exhausting and discouraging at times, but do not let a rejection or bad interview get the best of you. Keep applying and improving your application materials. As time goes on, the process becomes less daunting, and you will feel more comfortable. Be patient and believe in yourself, everything will work out in the end!
Olivia Christiansen is a senior studying journalism-strategic communication at the E.W. School of Journalism at Ohio University. She currently serves as the Vice President of External Relations for Scripps PRSSA. Connect with her on Twitter here.