As I am about to enter my senior year in college, the overwhelming pressure of what my next course of action will be after I graduate has already begun to settle in. Will I get a job right after college? Do I have enough experience? What kind of job do I even want to pursue? The questions and concerns running through my mind are endless. However, having real work experience and support from other young professionals through Power Digital Marketing’s internship program, the stress has significantly minimized.
Internships offer much more than simply adding another job to your resume and LinkedIn profile; they help you acquire valuable experiences, develop and build upon skills, help you network, offer useful references for further job opportunities, and help you decide your right career path, amongst many other benefits. Internships are the first step in knowing what type of company you want to work for, what kind of professional you want to be, and how you are going to achieve your career goals.
As my time as an intern at PDM comes to an end, I began to reflect on the steps I took to land this amazing opportunity. I have attained an immense amount of skills here at PDM, and although the process of obtaining this internship wasn’t the easiest, the journey has been well worth it.
With determination, enthusiasm, and following these easy guidelines, you too can land your dream internship.
Research, Research, Research
Before you can begin applying to internships in your preferred city, spend a significant amount of time researching various companies. The best way to start is to google “ [your major] internships in [city name]”. A ton of businesses that have internship programs will appear. Make a list of companies that stand out the most to you and rank them by how interested you are.
Be sure also to look into if the company offers an unpaid internship or a paid internship. If the internship is unpaid, you must contact your school’s career center and ask how you can receive college credit for the internship. This can be a challenging and long task, so make sure you get the ball rolling straight away.
Update Your Resume And Cover Letter
Once you have a list of companies you are interested in applying to, make sure your resume is up to date. Having a full and unique resume will stand out among other applications. Don’t be afraid to use color and a cool font to add some personality to a typically boring document. Additionally, having a unique format, rather than a list with subheadings, will guide the employer’s eyes to specific sections of your resume that you want them to pay close attention to. Keep in mind that having jobs or awards listed on your resume from middle school are irrelevant and take up space that could be used for more valuable information.
A cover letter is a critical addition to your resume. A cover letter further explains, in detail, your past work experience, and your skill set. An important tip to remember is to cater your cover letter to fit the needs of the company. Include your values and experience that relate to what the internship program is looking for. This will not only make you seem like the perfect candidate, but it will also demonstrate that your experience and knowledge can be translated to the internship position you are applying to.
Optimize Your Networks
Networking by definition means establishing and upholding relationships for mutual benefit. By creating networks, your internship and career opportunities will significantly expand. LinkedIn is an awesome platform for networking. You can connect with peers, family friends, relatives, and past employers that may have worked for a company that you are considering applying to. Reach out to your connections and see if they have any insights or further connections that can help you get an interview. Don’t hesitate to mention your connections in your cover letter. Having a mutual relationship with someone can be very beneficial.
Once your cover letter and resume are up to date and you’ve optimized your networks, you are ready to send out your application. Here’s a helpful tip: If you don’t hear back from the company you applied to within two weeks, feel free to send out a follow-up email to show that you are still interested in interning for them.
You Scored An Interview. Now What?
Now that you have an interview set in stone, it’s time to prepare. Study and take notes on the company’s website. You will find everything you need to know about the company just by reading up on them online. Practicing mock interview questions and answers is another great way to prepare for the interview. Try to have a reply to all of the basic interview questions. You will be asked questions such as; tell me about yourself. Why should we hire you? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Do you have any questions for me? If you can easily answer these questions, you will come across as very prepared.
Be sure to have a list of questions ready for when the interviewer asks you if you have any questions. If you say no, the interviewer will think you aren’t entirely interested in interning for them. Because this is such an important step in the interview process, I will share with you my go-to questions to ask during an interview.
- In the past, what has been the difference between a strong intern and a weak intern?
- What is a typical day like for an intern?
- How did you get started in your career?
- Is there anything you are excited for in the future of the company?
- What is the culture of the company like?
These few questions will get you a deeper insight into your role as an intern, the background of an employee in the company, and the overall culture of the company. The interview will be impressed by your apparent curiosity in the business.
Interviews can be nerve-racking, and I have had my fair share of daunting ones. What seems to help is trying to keep the mentality of speaking with a successful and affluent friend. You can be personable and have fun with it, but you also want to demonstrate your admirable abilities and sophistication. I am sure you have heard it many times before, but always remember to smile and shake the interviewers hand before and after the interview. This is key!
No matter how awful or amazing the interview went, always write a thank you note. It can be through email or handwritten, but a simple thank you for your time and consideration goes a long way. You should also touch on specific points that you found intriguing, to show the interviewer that you were paying close attention to what he or she was saying.
Congratulations, you have successfully completed the application/interview process, and you are now on track to landing your dream internship! Keep a positive attitude and remember that this is only the beginning of your career. Amazing opportunities will come your way if you continue to put in time and effort into your future career plans. If you do happen to land the internship, read up on How to Balance School and an Internship for maximum efficiency and learning.
I began my internship at Power Digital Marketing with the mindset that this was the start of my career and not just a 3-month summer internship with a start and end date. This mentality has given me the boost I needed to shift from a college student to an aspiring young professional. The advice and support I have received from the PDM team have been incredible, and I could not be more thankful for the time I have spent here soaking up an abundant amount of digital marketing knowledge.