Last summer, I had the opportunity to work as an editorial intern at a magazine. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had. I learned more about writing, editing and interviewing at that internship that I have in any class. And while I was fortunate to land my dream internship, it also took a lot of hard work. Here are eight steps you can take to get the job and impress your future supervisor.
1. Research the company.
It’s always obvious when an interviewee doesn’t know much about the company or organization that he or she is applying to. Make sure you do your homework and find out everything you can about the company and what it does. If you know ahead of time who your interviewer is going to be, try to do some research on him or her, as well.
2. Create a killer resume.
No one looks twice at an application that doesn’t have a standout resume attached. These days, it’s all about creating the perfect resume, and style definitely matters. On mine, I’ve designed a small logo in the upper right-hand corner. On others, the layout is unconventional. Whatever you can do to visually set yourself apart is key.
3. Play to your strengths.
When I applied to work at the magazine last summer, I had never interviewed anyone, I had yet to take a journalism class, and my most notable work experience had been at a frozen yogurt shop. However, I did have experience writing academic papers and doing extensive research. I chose to highlight those skills in my interview, and it worked. It’s okay if you don’t possess the exact skill-set that the internship requires. Being an intern is all about learning.
4. Apply to more than one organization.
Even the best applicants are sometimes overlooked. It’s just the way things work. So make sure you apply to more than one company to increase the odds of you getting hired. Having an internship under your belt, no matter if it’s directly related to your career aspirations, is always better than no internship experience at all.
5. Follow up.
After an interview, send a thank you email. If it’s past the date that you expected to hear back from the company, reach out and ask about the status of things. Offer to send copies of your resume, examples of your work, or your business card – anything that keeps you in the foreground while remaining appropriate and professional.
6. Dress appropriately.
When I worked at the magazine, I wore pencil skirts when I had editorial meetings or in-person interviews, and on other days I wore jeans. Scope out what the other employees are wearing and follow suit (and perhaps literally wear a suit). It’s always better to be overdressed than under-dressed, but keep in mind that you want to adhere to the company’s culture. Chances are, a design company isn’t going to be as formal as a financial organization. Use your best judgment.
7. Look everywhere.
There are an infinite number of job board websites, and that can make it hard to keep track of everything. When internship hunting, be sure to check multiple websites, but don’t try to juggle too many at once. A handful of websites will give you the variety you need without being overwhelmed.
8. Use your connections.
If you know people in the industry, reach out to them. It’s very possible that they know someone who can help you land that internship. There is no shame in using connections to get a job. It’s also important to network with other employees and supervisors while at the internship. They will be great resources for recommendation letters and advice for years to come.
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