Summer’s quickly approaching, which means it’s time to be on the lookout for an internship. In any economy, competition is tough, but that’s even more the case right now. So what can you do to ensure you’re the candidate businesses want at the end of the day? Follow these tips.
- Write a cover letter. I know this seems like common sense, but you wouldn’t believe how many people apply to my company for an internship and don’t send a cover letter! Make sure you discuss why you’d be a fit for the company, and use words from the company mission statement to show you’ve done your homework.
- Send your résumé to the office with something memorable. A friend was telling me how she hired an intern solely based on the fact that she knew the company was working on an event around origami, so the potential intern made a small figurine to contribute to the ones they were collecting. Hired on the spot. Be memorable!
- Follow up within twenty-four hours of your interview—and send a handwritten note. So often we think digital communication suffices, and it doesn’t. Be sure to follow up with a phone call and a handwritten letter.
- Do not—I repeat—do not take to your Facebook page or Twitter account to discuss the interview you just had. As an intern, you may be exposed to confidential information, and they need to know they can trust you. If you’re blabbing about your interview, they’ll assume you’ll do the same about company information.
- Dress to the style of the company. Not every potential place of work is a suit-and-tie place (we’re not). In my line of work, I look for candidates who are trendy yet polished and presentable. Just because my business is young and hip doesn’t mean I want interns to come interview in cutoff shorts, but I do want to see their personality in their style.
- Make sure you’ve left an impression with everyone—especially the assistant. Everyone’s important. Don’t turn on the charm for the person interviewing you. I can guarantee you that they’ll ask everyone who interacted with you what they thought of you. So be kind to everyone you meet—even other candidates you might run into in the waiting lounge!
- Be yourself. It sounds totally cliché, I know, but it matters. The people we usually end up hiring are the ones who seemed totally at ease during the interview process. We didn’t want any surprises. So take a deep breath, and be yourself!