By Leoni Jay
Leoni outlines a number of exclusive tips for GradMag readers on how to land your dream internship.
Allow yourself plenty of time to plan your overall internship experience from start to finish. I’d recommend starting your strategy well in advance, particularly if you’re going abroad. The useful saying “fail to plan, plan to fail’ sticks in my mind, and reinforces the need to be organised and prepared. The earlier you start, the more flexibility you can allow yourself, should plans change along the way.
Use Your Contacts
This point should perhaps be your first consideration before you even begin your search for a number of reasons. Firstly, it may well save the overall effort of the job search if you know of someone in the industry - be it a family member, friend or a friend’s family who can offer you an internship or work experience placement. It also may be less intimidating to work for a familiar contact given that you have insight into their background and what they do, putting your mind at ease from the start. Speak with your contacts initially and explore what options are readily available to you.
Explore All Your Options
With such a variety of interning options available today, it’s only sensible to investigate your possible choices from the onset. Do you want to stay at home and intern in your spare time, or would you prefer to clear a few months over summer and apply for a professional scheme or travel abroad for international experience? Whatever you decide, make sure it’s the right fit for you and your schedule.
It’s imperative that your CV and cover letters are tailored to suit each specific company. Employers can spot a generic application a mile off and this may well damage your chances of proceeding to the next step. The same goes for when applying abroad, for example in the US when a resumé is required. It’s worthwhile spending time formatting your application to the required layout for international employers. Being heard above the crowd is difficult enough, aside from anything else, so ensure that you give yourself the optimum chance from the start.
Above all else, self-belief is an essential quality that will ultimately play a vital role in landing you an internship. Showcasing a certain level of confidence in interviews and over the telephone will instil faith in your ability to carry out a role. Set yourself the challenge to radiate self-assurance, without coming across as arrogant. With such a high degree of competition for internships in many of today’s markets, you have to be certain of what you want, set yourself a realistic goal and let nothing stop you from achieving it. If you believe that you can, then you will.
About the author
Author Leoni Jay graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2012 with a degree in business studies. After completing three internships through BUNAC’s Internship USA programme, and a further placement in London, she decided to share her insider knowledge of this evolving industry by creating an insightful guide for students and graduates - #interns – we do more than make coffee, available to download as an eBook from Amazon: http://amzn.to/1qhbEoJ