MY ADVICE TO STAY ON TOP OF INTERNSHIP APPLICATIONS
To any discouraged student struggling to find internships during the COVID era, I am here to tell you that internships are still happening! I work for the career development at my school, and we work with recruiters that are looking for qualified students to fill in internship positions every semester. Now more than anything, we should be looking to gain experience in our fields to become more competent and qualified for full-time jobs after graduation.
I’ve gathered these internship application tips from my experience seeking internships amidst a global pandemic in the summer of 2020. Let’s be honest this can be a tedious and nerve-wracking process, but rise up to the occasion and seek opportunities for ourselves.
Gather all of your application details in one excel sheet
I use google sheets to keep track of all of the internships that I have applied for. I recommend creating this document before starting applications because this can become your “internship log” for the semester to keep yourself on top of deadlines and professional contacts for each gig.
My columns look something like this…
Name of the employer
Requirements [Resume, CV, pre-screen]
Current status [update every week]
Note: I applied to over 30 internship positions during the summer of 2020 and I took two remote internships based in LA in the middle of quarantine. The sky’s the limit!
Re-construct your resume and tailor it to each position
This is the time to really perfect your resume and let it become a blueprint of your experience. Have 2-3 professionals in your network review your document and give you feedback. Use reliable online sources to teach you how to improve your resume. Compare the job description to your resume to see if you are using the proper keywords.
To my fellows applying to large companies such as Google, Disney, Intel, Coca-Cola just to name a few, you need to learn how to “hack” the ATS system. The Applicant Tracking System is used by many large companies before a recruiter even has a chance to lay eyes on your resume. You want to make sure that your resume can be easily read by the ATS system.
All of your skills and experiences are valuable, but I recommend having different categories in your resume to effectively organize each experience depending on what the job description asks for.
Remember: What is related to one internship is not related experience to another. Make sure to switch things around as needed.
Create a personalized cover letter for each employer
Recruiters can tell if a student is sending a generic cover letter. A cover letter can be an important part of the application process especially if the recruiter wants to know your purpose for applying for the positions and ways you set yourself apart from other applicants. This is where you apply your strong written communication skills. Commit to carefully writing a cover letter for each internship position and keep them in one folder with the title of the employer and the date which you applied.
Create a mock interview kit
I think practicing your interviewing skills is essential to nail the real interview. Search common questions asked in the industry and roles that you are applying for and write down your answers on a document. This helps you visually see how you are responding to the questions and how you can effectively answer them to impress the recruiter. There are different types of questions such as situational, behavioral, and competency-based. Learn how to identify each question in an interview and answer accordingly. Then practice with your peers or with people in your career development center.
Follow-Up on Your Status
This can be a little bit out of my comfort zone but I think that if done the right way it can show the recruiter your interest in the positions. If have not heard from the recruiter, or your application status remains frozen, send a cordial greeting to the recruiter and ask about the status of the position. This gives you closure on which positions have potential and it also can help the recruiter remember your name for future reference.
These are some of the things I do to keep track of my internships. Every season is a new adventure when it comes to seeking experience. I personally love internship seeking because I can showcase everything that I have learned in school and the skills I have gained through my experiences. GOOD LUCK and if you need an internship buddy, reach out to me and we can hop on this bandwagon together. :)