July 2, 2012

How To Land Your Dream Internship

“I need to get a what? An internship? You mean, I can’t just go to class and make straight A’s and get my dream job?” Not usually. Getting an internship in your field of study is almost vital to the success of your highly sought after career. Those A’s are great and all… but when it comes to a dream-job employer, real experience is what really attracts them. Internships also allow you to figure out if a career path is right for you, so it's worth it to jump in and test the waters. Attaining an internship is often easier said than done, but here are a few tips that can make the plunge a little less scary.

First of all, make sure it’s something you’re passionate about! When it comes to your career, as cheesy as it sounds, follow your heart. Think about all the things you’ve experienced in your life, zoom in and figure out what exactly makes you feel the most alive. What’s your true sweet spot? If you focus on what you truly love, your drive for achieving those higher goals will be more in your favor, and the energy you possess about your given interest will come across in any resume or interview.

Utilize your connections. This is where Alpha Phi comes in. You’ve got an enormous network of sisters nation-wide that can loan you advice, establish a connection, or even pull you some major strings! Not sure how to tap into that network? Join the Alpha Phi group on Linked In, it’s a fantastic way to make connections and advertise your abilities to some of the people that care most about you. There’s nothing wrong with asking for some help. Later down the road, you’ll probably be that connector for someone also! Pay it forward!

Have a polished resume and a cover letter. This doesn’t mean it needs to be chalked full of experience, it just needs to be formatted correctly and free of spelling and grammar errors. A cover letter is more of an explanation of your experiences and why you’re the best fit for that specific company. Also, it doesn’t need to look like stereo instructions, add some of yourself to that black and white document; you’ll stand out from the stack. 

Apply, apply, apply! Use the 30:2 ratio. For every 30 applications you complete, you’ll usually hear back from two of them. You want to make as many options as possible available to you, so that your best-case scenario is that you’re picking between a handful of jobs. Start early, get those applications in and be sure to include a cover letter. Not sure how to find these opportunities? Subscribe to a job hunter like InternQueen.com!

The interview… yikes. Calm down! Interviews are never as scary as you think they’ll be. This is a chance for you to brag about yourself and show those people exactly why you’re so great. And now you’re faced with the age-old question: “WHAT do I wear!?” Dress for the job you want. A knee-length pencil skirt and a crisp blouse paired with modest heels is my go-to outfit for any interview. You want to be taken seriously, so that means no flats, no sundresses and definitely no spaghetti straps. Another thing to remember about interviews is to keep eye contact with your interviewers, look them straight in the eyes. Exude confidence!

Be yourself. Getting an internship doesn’t mean you need to be perfect, but being comfortable and confident in your own skin is what people really admire in candidates. If you have quirks, show them, and if you smile a lot, keep smiling. There’s nothing worse than a fake human, so relax, rock that pencil skirt and breathe.

Jamie K. White is a member at Florida State (Gamma Phi). Read her bio here.

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