Earlier this semester, I landed my dream internship with a non-profit organization in California. Since it’s a paid internship, it was a really competitive position to get. I first heard about the opportunity last year but I didn’t feel like I met the requirements. Luckily this year, I felt more confident about applying because I have more time and experience. I met all the company’s requirements and they were very pleased with my application and interview. Out of many applicants and even fewer interviews, they chose me and a few others to work with them this semester. I’m really excited and I can’t wait to finally get some real-life experience in my field! So if you’re struggling to find a job or internship, stick around. I’ll give you 5 tips for landing your dream internship.
5 Tips for Landing Your Dream Internship
1) Spruce up your résumé.
Before you even start applying for jobs, the most important thing you need to do is build up your résumé. You should include your past work or volunteer experiences, your education, and your skills. Make sure your résumé is neat, readable, and straightforward but still shows your personality. Don’t forget to use a professional e-mail address. No employer wants to correspond with email@example.com. Most importantly, don’t forget to showcase your accomplishments. This is your chance to tell your potential employer about what you’ve done. They’ll be looking at dozens of other applications so make sure your résumé stands out.
Depending on your field of work, employers want to see that you’ve already done related work. This doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be paid work. I’m in the field of public health and my academic advisor has told me that most employers would prefer that you do volunteer work before even applying for an internship. For the last year, I’ve volunteered with two large non-profit organizations and included that in my résumé. When I had my interview for the internship, one of their questions was “Have you done any volunteer work?” I enthusiastically told them about my volunteer experience and they were pleased with the wide range of work I’ve done.
3) Make yourself memorable.
To land your dream internship, you have to find a way to make yourself memorable. Even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone. Luckily for me, the company I interviewed with was tabling an event at my school. I had already looked at the application online and read the job description/requirements. When I walked up to the booth, I held a short conversation with a lady standing around. It turned out that she was in charge of reviewing the applications and interviews. I introduced myself to her and she said she’d look out for my application. At that moment, I already knew I was guaranteed a call for an interview because I went out of my way to formally introduce myself. Sure enough, the first thing she said to me when I came in for my interview was, “I remember meeting you at the event last week.”
4) Look the part.
Once you get the call for the interview, you want to look your best. I had a lot of trouble finding an outfit because I never dress business professional. Thank goodness I bought a blazer a few months back because I knew I’d need it for occasions like this. I paired it with black skinnies, black pumps, and finished the look with a royal blue top for a pop of color. So when in doubt, wear black. You can never go wrong with black. Not to mention, minimal makeup is the way to go. Don’t forget to sit up straight, make eye contact, smile, and give firm handshakes.
5) Act the part.
Along with looking the part, you need to act the part. Show them that you’re the best candidate for the position. Show them your enthusiasm but don’t be desperate. The interview is your last chance to showcase your personality and skills. You want to wow them and secure your spot. And if you’re not confident enough, fake it until you make it. I wasn’t always this confident. It took me a long time to get to where I am today. You just have to remember that it takes patience and effort. If you don’t get the job or internship, another opportunity will open up for you. You just have to keep working at it.
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I hope you found these five points helpful for getting your dream internship. As I said, it took me years to get to this point but all the hard work will eventually pay off.