Executing an Effective Internship Search

Stacie Garlieb, Successful Impressions
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Key Takeaways
  • Tools for conducting and internship search
  • How to communicate in your internship search

As the school year starts, employers are beginning to search for qualified college students to join their teams.  Internships can be great experiences that provide you the opportunity to build skills, learn new ones, and show your potential value to an organization that may have post-graduation positions that are a fit for you in the future.  Searching for an internship is a dynamic process that requires planning, organization, communication, and patience.  Here are some tips to secure an opportunity that will assist your career development.

•    Know what you are looking for.  Before you jump on the Career Services website to look for internship postings, develop a list of keywords that can narrow your search.  Obvious ones like ‘marketing’ should be on there, but think about the skills that you will bring to the job.  If you have certain strengths in social media marketing, guerilla marketing, or street marketing, make sure that you include those phrases in your search.

•    Make the employer feel like they are the only company you want to work for.  Too many times collegiates create a ‘bulk’ resume for Career Services that gets uploaded into every posting that you are interested in.  The problem with this is that the employer is looking for specific skills and experience and your generic version doesn’t make them feel like you have taken the time to be focused on them.  Send a resume that references their job title, the key skills they need, and the ways you can help them be successful.

•    Double check your documentation – bulk emails are a problem.  It would be great if we could apply for 50 jobs all at once.  You can’t.  Every organization will have different requirements, interests, and reasons for you doing different steps to apply through their systems.  So, you can create a generic version that will not give anyone the motivation to contact you – or you can tailor your content and make sure that your resume and application move into the ‘yes’ pile quickly.

•    Use the telephone for verbal communication.  Posting online is the first step to securing an internship.  The highest quality candidates will go beyond that step to call the company directly and request an interview.  Making this move also shows your sincere confidence in your abilities and your professionalism that you can use in their organization.

•    Patience is a virtue.  Remember that college recruiters may have multiple roles in their companies, so hiring for the intern team may not be the top priority at all times.  This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be consistent in your attempt to communicate during the process, but it does mean you should be understanding of the hiring manager’s other business realities.  Following up with email or phone communication every four or five days if you haven’t heard back from previous communication is a good rule of thumb.


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Stacie Garlieb, Successful Impressions
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