Gone are the days when getting an internship was limited to students from few elite colleges. Gone are the days when internships were only meant for students reaching final year of college. Today, students want to make the most of their college years and begin internship right from the first year of college.
As a first-year student looking to secure an internship, you will have to compete with 2nd, 3rd or even 4th-year students who are more experienced and more qualified than you. And if you are vying for one of those sought-after intern positions, the competition may be fierce. Here are few steps you should take to get ahead of the pack and boost your chances of landing the coveted internship:
Self-Evaluate Before You Start
Most students jump right into internship hunt without a thoughtful assessment of their values, personality or interests. A self-evaluation can help you lay out a clear career goal and a better understanding of the career path you wish to follow. Figure out your targets and think of the culture and environment you would like to work in. This will give you a probable list of companies which are a good fit.
Read Intern Insights with Srishti Verma, an engineering student who completed 3+ internships before completing her graduation.
Build a Strong Resume
Being a first-year student doesn’t give you an excuse to have a blank resume. To survive the competition you need to hone your skills and build an impressive profile. In order to ensure your resume stands out
Start self-learning and skill-based training with websites like Lynda, Coursera, edX, etc
Work on independent projects based on your interest area
Enhance your soft skills by volunteering with a student organization
Get real work experience by freelancing with websites like Odesk, Elance, Fiverr, Upwork or Freelancer.com
Invest in your passion and show you have got the gist to walk an extra mile to fulfil it.
Put Together a Great Presentation
Making an impressive resume is as important as writing your cover letter. There are many online tools that can help you in formatting and presenting the resume in a clean and visually appealing manner. You can check websites like Resumonk and Creddle for the same.
Apply for Multiple Internships
Internship positions are served you on a platter in websites like Switchidea.com. Just login to Switchidea and apply to all the internships that match your criterion. The more positions you apply to, higher are your chances of getting one.
LinkedIn and Twitter are effective ways to make connections and network with people regarding internships. If you have 2 to 3 companies in your mind, then you can narrow down your search to people of that companies. It is fine to connect with first degree friends and ask them to refer your profile to a company they have worked with. However, when reaching out to second-degree friends, it is important to ask the mutual friends to connect you to the person you are trying to reach with a brief introduction.
In case, you forgot to add your NTAT certificate to your Linkedin profile, you may go through this article on how to add your NTAT certificate to Linkedin. This integration acts as a catalyst, especially when an employer is doing a quick search of your name over Linkedin.
An Impressive Cover Letter
While portal like SwitchIdea auto-suggests you standard cover letters, it is a good idea to tailor the cover letter to address the job description and the company’s needs. Write what makes you a good candidate for the position. If you do not have prior experience, highlight any freelance or volunteer work you have done. Personal blog or involvement in clubs and other activities that prove that you are a go-getter and passionate worker should be highlighted in the cover letter.
Note: Switch Idea has pre-embedded samples of cover letters. Please ensure to edit the content correctly (including dashes and spaces), before applying to any internship. It is not suggested to use ready made cover-letters and just hit the 'Apply' button, chances are your profile rankings in the Search Results may decline due to poor open rate from employers.
Prepare for the Interview
Prepare well for your internship interview. Dress well, prepare an answer to the standard questions, reach the venue on time, and try to be calm and confident. Have a positive body language and a belief in your abilities. Keep smiling and the internship is yours.
Following-up after the interview indicates sincerity and shows a genuine desire for getting the role. You can send the first follow-up email, a week after the interview and second 4 to 5 days after that. If you still don’t get a reply, don’t get disheartened. Carry on and prepare for your application elsewhere.