The Intern Lowdown: Landing Your First Internship
Trying to land your first internship can be a challenge when you have no related work experience. I'm here to share my experiences and help you land the first internship of your dreams!
This is the first in a series of posts; check back soon for more advice once you've landed the internship!
Just pray you don't end up working at Dunder Mifflin...
1) Learn to market your experiences for the job you want.
You don't necessarily need experience working at an accounting office to get an accounting internship- Were you treasurer for a club in high school? Have you taken accounting classes? Are you in any relevant clubs? These may not be exactly what the company was looking for, but pair these experiences with passion and a willingness to learn and you're a much stronger candidate.
2) Gain Experience.
If you truly don't have any sort of club or class you can put on your resume, then get involved! Extracurricular activities are just as important as taking the right classes in college, and the sooner you get involved the better. Make use of orientation fairs, ask your teachers and peers if they know of any clubs, or just search around on your school's website. Then, you can use these clubs to show that you have knowledge and passion for the field you're trying to get into. Another bonus of getting involved? Many clubs on campus are great for networking with both professionals and alumni!
3) Finding Positions.
Begin asking your peers and teachers if they have any suggestions or know of anyone who is hiring. Attend all of your school's career fairs, even as Freshman and Sophomores! Even if none of the companies attending are looking for younger applicants, it's a great way to begin making connections and practice for the day when you really do need to attend these events. I've gotten all of my internships through networking- it really is the most useful tool. Another great tool is your school's career website. You should be able to find a website where employers list open positions either through your school's website or from your adviser. These websites are a treasure trove of employers who are looking for students just like you to intern and work for them!
4) Research Companies You Want to Work For.
Get on Google and begin looking at different companies' websites and checking out their intern programs. Follow your favorites on social media so you can get a feel for their culture and be the first to know when they have openings. It also never hurts to email someone within the company to give them your resume and ask if you could come in for a tour. That's are great way to make a connection within the company so that when they are hiring you already have an "in".
5) Look Into Positions At Your School.
A lot of offices on campus are in need of student workers. I know friends who do graphic design for the cafeterias, sell ads for the school newspaper, and even help film our football games! These are great ways to get your foot in the door and get a great hands on experience. They may not be 'internships', but they look great on your resume and will give you the experience you need to go into your chosen career field. Another job worth mentioning is asking one of your favorite professors if they need a Teaching Assistant, this can give your resume a boost and leave you with an awesome recommendation.
6) Prepare For Interviews.
So, you found an internship you wanted, applied, and got a call back...now what? Practice interviewing! Either with your friends or through your school's career services office. Think of some basic questions they may ask you and also think of some things you know you want to talk about. Always come to an interview with at least three questions you can ask at the end!