How to get an internship

So this week, while sitting in my monthly internship seminar, it dawned on me: I talk a lot about my internship experiences on my blog, but shouldn’t I offer some of my tips to my readers? Well, today I will be doing exactly that!

I’ve been fortunate enough to have held three internships. The truth is, finding an internship can be a long and arduous process. It takes tons of research and follow-ups to get an internship. However, if you follow my tips below, I sincerely believe you should have no trouble landing an internship for next semester!

  • First internship? Search local.

My first internship was actually here at the UIC Office of Sustainability. Previous to holding this internship, I had no other work experience related to my major. I figured an internship on campus would actually be ideal for my first internship, because it is a) on campus and b) a great way to begin my career training doing something for my school. This is why I highly recommend you apply for something more in-reach when looking for your first internship. Not only is it convenient, but it also provides you a great connection to UIC.

  • Research online

When looking for an internship, I always spend a lot of time using Google or other internship websites sifting through the various opportunities out there. There are a TON of internship opportunities out there. Some of my favorite websites are internships.com, entertainmentcareers.com, and UIC’s Career Services website. Also, your college should have an internship advisor, so it would be wise to go in and talk to them about opportunities. 

  • Can’t find one? Make a call!

If you can’t find an internship, try calling a company or business of your interest and ask their manager if they are hiring any interns. Although I have never done this personally, I have heard plenty of students who have had luck obtaining an internship simply because they made an effort by calling the business. Sometimes business aren’t hiring interns but are willing to bring one on if you make a good case of why they should!

  • Apply promptly

Once you come across an interesting internship, apply right away! Chances are other people are applying for the internship at the same time you are. If you delay in sending your application and resume, these people will have a better chance of getting the internship, simply because they applied first.

  • Revise your cover letter and resume

This should be pretty known already, but make sure you have your cover letter and resume revised before submitting them. It is imperative. No employer wants to see tons of misspellings and grammar mistakes.

  • The importance of the follow-up

So you can apply for as many internship as you want, but the hardest part is getting a response from the company. This is why it is EXTREMELY important to follow up a week or two after you submit your application. How? Just send a nice email to the hiring manager asking about the status of your application. If they do not reply to your follow up within a week, send one again! Every internship I have received is because I followed up on my application. Take a gulp of courage and follow up on your application!

  • Interview, Interview, Interview

This should be straight forward as well, but make sure you prepare for any interviews you get. UIC’s Office of Career Services provides great mock interviews, so if you aren’t comfortable with your interviewing skills, this is a great way to get practice. Also, make sure you dress nice — dress to impress!
With these simple tips, I think you have a good chance of landing an internship. Internships are  good opportunities to apply everything you’re learning in the classroom into a real-life setting. With an internship, your odds of getting a job after graduation are much more likely!
So what are you waiting for? Get on it!
Until next time…
Mike : )

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