Okay so it’s that time of the year. Right after catching all the thrills of summer, attending all the parties and concerts, visiting all the friends and family, you finally want to do something much more serious and productive with your time. You’re now looking to score an internship. Let me first of all commend you for making the right choice. It is always very important to gain some hands-on experience outside of the classroom. And of course, an internship in a reputable company would look very attractive on your CV. So, you’re definitely on the right track.
However, just before I get into what to do and what not to do, you must always have this at the back of your mind: INTERNSHIPS ARE FOR THE WORKING EXPERIENCE AND NOT FOR THE PAY. I’m sure someone just rolled their eyes right after reading that. Well, that’s the truth. You must be sure that your main focus during this period is not the salary or the little stipend you get at the end of each month, but the experiences and knowledge you can gather that would make you stand out even among your peers.
Now that we have that settled, I guess I can now go on to the essence of this article.
Here are 5 steps to scoring your dream internship.
STEP 1: CREATE A LIST OF THE POSSIBLE COMPANIES YOU WOULD WANT TO INTERN WITH
First and foremost, I mean a physical list.
DO NOT MAKE THE LIST IN YOUR MIND.
WRITE IT DOWN!
This way, your list is much more comprehensive and no detail is left out. At this stage, you should come up with at least 5 different companies or organisations, just to make sure you have a variety of options.
From your list, begin to narrow down your options in relation to factors such as proximity, preferences and the likes. Whatever is left on the list is what you work with.
STEP 2: REACH OUT TO THE COMPANY
Now if the traditional way which involves showing up at their office with your CV might not be convenient for you, say a big thank you to social media. Virtually, everything is possible now on the internet. That internship might just be a DM away. You can simply look for a social media platform where the company or organisation is very active on and send them a Direct Message. You must ensure you don’t type like you’re texting your crush or best friend. It is still very much a formal application and must be treated as such.
However, if you’re going to make use of social media, you must ensure that your social media account is clean and presentable. What do I mean? You might ask. Well, nobody will want to employ somebody whose social media account is just full of vulgar words, obscene images and videos. Even your name on social media matters a lot. Please go and change that @sexygirlchinny to @Chinwe, which is your real name. You would still have to send them your CV and cover letter just to make it official. So, you must ensure that they are both water tight. Cross you T’s and dot all your I’s.
STEP 3: RESEARCH, RESEARCH AND RESEARCH SOME MORE
This particular step is often overlooked by most candidates, they just solely rely on their CV and cover letter to do the job. No company will hire anyone who knows nothing about their product or service. Even though you might be coming in as an intern, you are still expected to add value in the long run. The only way that would be possible is when you have sufficient knowledge about the company and tell what needs to be improved upon. So just before you attend that interview, make sure you do your research on the company.
STEP 4: ACE THE INTERVIEW
It’s important you plan out your outfit the night before your interview so you do not end up looking like you just rolled out of bed. You would also need to take into consideration the type of organisation you are going to intern with, and dress accordingly. For instance, some organisations would require you to be corporately dressed at all times, while some are more laid back with their dress code.
Make sure you arrive on time and well prepared – though it is an internship, punctuality is still important.
Finally, do not let the interview be a one was street; ask questions about the company and the internship in general. This will show your potential employers that you have done your research, and this will impress them.
STEP 5: FOLLOW UP
If you followed Step 1-4, you should get your desired internship. But sometimes, the company may not have space at that time for you, or you may not be a right fit for the company. However, you need to follow up with the company until you get a definite NO – you should still be exploring other options in the meantime. And if you “really really” want to intern with that specific company, you should not let a NO deter you.
If it is an Oil and Gas Company, send them a paper you wrote that is applicable to a current project they are working on.
If it is an Advertising Agency, send them uber creative ideas for ad campaigns for their current clients.
If it is a Magazine, send them interesting articles you have written that fit their vision.
Who knows, after all this the company may just give you the YES you are looking for.
And if they still don’t, oh well…too bad.
Dust your self off and try again with another company!
After going for a couple of interviews and following up with the companies, you should eventually score an internship – that is if you are worth hiring 😉
Now it wasn’t that difficult, was it?
So, to all of you who are looking for internships, let’s take it back to STEP 1
Get out that sheet of paper and start listing the companies you want to work for!