How to Prep Yourself to Get Your Dream Internship

*Originally posted on Her Campus George Mason*

Photography by Alexa Garcia

Internships have become a core component of college students’ lives. They offer real-world experience and help hone skills that are much needed for full-time positions. However, it is not so easy landing a good internship in today’s day and age.

Over the past two years, I have been part of the tedious internship searching process, and wanted to put my experience into words. My professional development classes, appointments with career services, and pointers from alumni was what helped me get my ideal internship, and I hope these tips motivate you to get yours!

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1. Build Your Resume to its Full Potential

Resumes are the recruiter’s first impression of you, and they spend a total of six seconds before deciding if you are going to get an interview. In order to make each of those six seconds count, you need to make sure your resume is as amazing as you. In order to do so, take drafts with you to Career Services. I personally have found that your specific school’s career services are much more effective than the university-wide career services. They are in constant contact with recruiters of companies you may want to go to and have a better understanding of how to phrase your experience.

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2. Go to Recruiting Events

While it may seem tedious, networking does make a difference with your chances of attaining an internship. These events are often held on-campus (or virtual) and are for the sole purpose of getting to know you better. Take advantage of that and seek out these amazing networking opportunities, even if you can only go for 15 minutes! It is the effort that matters. Try to make a personal connection with someone that works there, and ask them to meet for coffee to discuss more about the firm! These events are key to making them recognize you, but also to feel out if this company is right for you. Go to your school’s Career Services to see schedules of recruiting events!

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3. Build Your Confidence 

Whether you are going to a career fair, job interview, or recruiting event, your confidence will show on your face. You need to believe in yourself before you can expect a company to believe in you. In order to work on this, make sure you are prepared before you into the door. Ask yourself potential interview questions. Prepare your elevator pitch. Come ready with questions you have about the company. Do your research about the industry and firm. By doing all of those things, you’ll exude confidence, won’t have the jitters of being unprepared.

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4. Be wary your Social Media Presence

This step may seem trivial but can make a world of a difference. We live in a technologically savvy era, which has digitized every aspect of our lives, including getting an internship. Many recruiters will search potential interns on social media. Make sure your profiles are either private or do not show anything inappropriate. The presence you should be most worried about, however, is LinkedIn. Many recruiters will look to see if you have a LinkedIn and if you are active on it. Here are some tips to make sure you have used your LinkedIn to its full potential:

  1. Have a professional profile picture
  2. Have a personalized URL
  3. Fill out your “About” section
  4. Post interesting interesting you had the opportunity of doing that is related to your profession
  5. Have endorsed skills
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5. Be Ready for Rejection

Even After all of this hard work, it’s always a possibility to not get the answer you wanted. While it is tough to digest, always try to look for the silver lining! Remind yourself you live in an extremely competitive environment. Everyone faces rejection at some point, but that does not mean that you are not extremely competent and hard-working, regardless of whether you get the internship or not. Use it as a learning experience for your next try at an internship!

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