Whether you’re still in college, or just out, having internship experience on your resume is critical to eventually getting the Lynchburg job you want. But just like any search, finding the right experience can be a challenge, especially in today’s competitive employment landscape.
What can you do to stand out among the sea of other students and secure an internship that can truly impact your career path? Here are 6 steps to take:
Step #1: Think About the Kind of Internship You Want
Before you start your research, make sure you have an understanding of the kinds of experiences you want. In other words, what type of work do you want to do, what types of companies do you want to work for, and how far are you willing to travel for an internship? When you have a sense of the direction you’d like to head in, your search will be easier to conduct. You can also use sites like Internships.com for help with this part of the process.
Step #2: Start Your Search
Visit your college’s Career Services or Internship Programs office and check out their online resources. You can also simply go online and search out internships that meet the criteria you identified. You can filter your search in any number of ways, such as by geographic location and whether the internship is paid or unpaid. Keep in mind, though, competition is fierce for paid internships.
Step #3: Tap Into Your Network
Besides searching online for internships, speak with professors, employers, family and other connections and ask for any leads to internships. If you do find an internship opportunity you’re interested in at a certain company, find out if you know anyone that works there so they can refer or recommend you. You’ll increase your odds of landing an interview if an employee can offer a referral on your behalf.
Step #4: Customize Your Cover Letter and Resume
You should tailor your cover letter and resume for every internship you’re applying to. That means highlighting details from your background that are most relevant to each position. While you should always be professional, make your cover letter stand out by letting your personality shine through. Talk about a unique volunteer or leadership experience, for instance. Your goal is to let the employer know you’re dependable, hard working, and willing to go the extra mile – but also a real person.
Step #5: Prepare for the Interview
Just as if you were interviewing for a full-time Lynchburg job, make sure you prepare ahead of time for each interview. Research the company, their size, industry, clients, reputation, and mission. Read through their website, social media profile pages and any news articles you can find about them. Develop a list of questions about the position and what would be expected of you. And finally, be ready to talk about a few accomplishments you’d like to highlight that showcase why you’re the right candidate.
Step #6: Follow Up With a Note or Email
Send the interviewer a follow up note or email that same day. Thank them for their time and reiterate why they should choose you.
Finding the right internship takes some time and effort. But by following the steps above, you can set yourself apart from the pack and secure an opportunity that’s right for your future career goals.
Just graduated and searching for your first job? Let Adams & Garth know. As one of the leading employment agencies in Lynchburg, we work with some of the top employers throughout Central Virginia and we can connect you with entry level opportunities that are oftentimes not advertised.