“How to land your dream internship” is something I typed into Google roughly 50 times back in 2015.
I’m a planner, I’ll admit it. And to be clear, by “planner” I mean I knew exactly which university I wanted to attend in grade six. Insane? Yes, a little bit, but I digress.
So, when it came time to finding an internship it meant I took it on like a full-time job.
I wanted to read absolutely anything that I could get my hands on that would give me some insight on how to land that coveted internship. From diary-style videos on Youtube from former interns to business articles about internship tips and tricks, I was consuming it all as much and as often as possible.
Needless to say, after a few trials and tribulations over the years and an internship under my belt, I’ve come up with a list to aid your hunt.
The Dos and Don’ts of Landing an Internship
DO make the first move. I know this may sound like the Bumble slogan but I’m talking networking, people! LinkedIn is a beautiful thing and you should use it to your full advantage. Go out on a limb and ask that person for coffee – it won’t hurt, I promise!
DO NOT slide into the DMs. Let me start off by saying that I love Instagram an almost unhealthy amount, but it has a purpose and that is not for harassing potential employers via their personal accounts. Have a question? Want to send your resume over? Head over to LinkedIn or the company website.
DO your research and a lot of it. With that knowledge, you can tailor your resumé and cover letter to mirror the tone of the company you’re applying to.
DO NOT address your application to the wrong person, especially when the email address you’re sending it to has their name in it. Huge no-no.
DO read the entire job posting! There is nothing worse than wasting time and if you’re looking for a paid internship and applying to positions that require a school credit you are not only wasting your own time but the person reviewing applications. You want to be sure you’re not forgetting the important qualifications when skimming postings.
Personality is great but know that there is a time and a place for it when it comes to job applications. For example, DO NOT apply to a bank with a cool and casual cover letter that you also used for a magazine internship because more likely than not, that won’t fly there. Research, people!
DO go the extra mile. Cover letters can turn into long, drawn-out lists of accomplishments. You’re hardworking, you have exemplary communication skills, you’re a team player and so is pretty much everyone else. What’s more impressive? Specific examples to back it all up.
DO NOT be generic or use clichés – no further explanation needed.
With that being said, DO keep it all relatively short. No one wants a personal essay about why the company would benefit YOU and then a boring list of your accomplishments to boot. Instead, hit all the key points necessary and keep it short and sweet. You don’t want a TLDR situation.
DO NOT submit your resumé or cover letter in a Microsoft Word document. PDF is the way to go for professionalism.
Before submitting, I beg that you DO use spell check and I know that sounds like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised to know it is not. Even better, read your work out loud; you’ll catch mistakes that spell check cannot.
Finally, DO NOT call to follow up. Everyone is busy and if a follow-up to an application is necessary, an email will suffice.
Put good time in and you’ll get the results you want. It’s a grind, but I promise it will pay off!