Tuesday 17 September 2019

How to land your dream internship (and job)

Alice Murray - Independent Jobs

Internships are a great way to break into your desired industry. They give you a chance to find your feet, network with other employees and gain key skills without the responsibility of being a full-time staff member.

Their appeal means that they are also very competitive. Securing a good, paid internship isn’t easy. You’ll need to be ambitious, confident in your abilities and most of all, prepared.

Here are just some tips on how to secure your dream internship, who knows it might eventually lead to the perfect job.

Assess your financial situation

Unfortunately unpaid and low paid internships are still popular. Before you start your search you need to assess your financial situation to find out what you can reasonably afford.

Accommodation will be your biggest expenditure. Can you undertake an internship in your hometown or will you have to move? Are there family members that you can stay with?

Check out grants and scholarships online. Alternatively, if your internship is part-time you might be able to pick up another job on the side to supplement your income. It’s important that you do not accept a role that will put you in debt. You deserve to be paid fairly for your work.

Know what you want

Before you start applying for internships you need to assess your reasons for doing so. Do you want to make lots of money? Do you want to gain experience in a relevant field?

Once you know what you would like to get out of the experience, you can start to research potential employers. On Jobbio you can find out what it’s like to work at a company through employer branding videos and employee testimonials. This is a great way to figure out if you would be a good fit.

Highlight your experience

Building a Jobbio Bio or CV can seem difficult if you’ve never actually been employed before. However, you probably have more skills and experience than you realise. Emphasise the college classes that you have taken and any clubs or societies that you were part of. If you’ve ever had a part-time job or work experience then you should mention it. It’s also important to focus on your soft skills like communication, organisation and punctuality. These attributes are valuable.

Build connections

Your network is one of your biggest assets when applying for an internship. If you really want to work at a company you should start building up contacts in that organisation. Attend networking events and career fairs. Don’t be afraid to connect online through sites like LinkedIn. The more people that you develop relationships with the more likely it is that you will be referred for a role.

Don’t be late

It goes without saying but you should always give yourself plenty of time to apply for an internship. This really isn’t something that you should do the night before. Find out when the application deadline is and aim to have yours completed a few days before. This will give you time to double and triple check your spelling and grammar. Employers often receive hundreds of applications, you need to make a good first impression.

Ace your interview

If you have completed all the above steps you will hopefully be asked to attend an in-person interview. The first thing you need to do is dress the part. During your research, you should have found out the company’s dress code. Wear something appropriate and comfortable.

Use positive body language. Stand up straight, look people in the eye and always offer a firm handshake. Practice with a friend or in the mirror the night before your interview.

Finally, prepare common interview questions that you think they will ask. Be able to talk about your experiences and skills without sounding rehearsed and robotic. Always have a few questions prepared for your interviewer too.

Practice resilience

Internships are very competitive which means that you will probably receive lots of emails containing the phrase, “Sorry we’ve made an offer to another candidate’”. Don’t give up! It’s important to remember that every rejection is leading you closer to the right company. Be persistent and it will pay off.

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