I wanted to share how I got an internship for the summer after my first year in college. First of all, the advice that will be listed here are what I have done and what I have heard from experienced personnel; you don’t need to follow every single advice yet take what you think that will be helpful to your effort of landing an internship.
Getting an internship as a freshmen is tough because companies are taking risks when hiring a freshmen. Companies hire interns because they want them full-time when they graduate. Of course, freshmen have three or more years to complete their degrees. Along the way, they might change their major. But, don’t let this discourage you!
As a freshmen, it’s normal not to have any experience; but, I would urge you to put something down in your experience section on the résumé. Any kinds of project that you have done in high school, community, church, or volunteering events. Put down any experience that you can think of; please just don’t go to the recruiter without resume or resume with no experience or activity section. Be honest even if you can’t think of any; you don’t know when you will get busted. At least, tell the recruiters that even though you don’t have any experience, you are willing to learn and get exposure in the field.
“Early bird gets the worm!”
Here is a giant tip; apply for the position before meeting the recruiters. It will definitely show that you are well-prepared and a step ahead compared to other freshmen who are applying for the same position. For example, I applied for an internship position for Microsoft before meeting the recruiter the next day. It led me to a great advantage because the recruiter didn’t talk about how to apply and such; we had a conversation regarding the company. You can have other conversations; this will give you a chance to show who you are as well as the recruiter knows that you have done your part.
I use graphic designs in my résumé to make it unique. Well, will this get me a job? Perhaps not. However, this will definitely make your résumé different than other resumes and stand out. So, I didn’t just copy and pasted my résumé as standard format; a couple of hours was invested for neatness, uniqueness, and content. Sadly, recruiters won’t spend a lot of time looking at the résumé; they will move on if they don’t find what they are looking for. So, follow the standard resume layout; so then, they don’t have a hard time to search. By the way, try to be minimal in colors.
Read about the company before meeting the recruiters; it will give some starting point for the conversation; or, it might lead to something great! Ask them questions regarding the position, company culture, and so on to show that you are interested in the company.
Elevator speech(grades) : This part is very important because you are representing yourself in mere seconds. Why are you interested in the company? Why are you pursuing your major? What are your motivations of getting this internship? Practice the elevator speech before any career events because this is how you draw the recruiters’ attention to you; by the way, be true to yourself.
After all of these, you might land an interview; this is where they test whether you are a good fit for the position or not. Practice for the interview questions such as “Describe a situation where you solved a conflict.” “Tell me about yourself.” (Use your elevator speech.) “Tell me about a failure; and what did you learn from it.” These questions are subjective and the answer shows who you are. I have been asked these questions several times in the interviews; so, practice these kinds of questions before the interview. If you need time to think, ask them “Can you give me a couple of seconds to think?” Don’t just go for it and answer it vaguely. Calm down (You got this!) and give a couple of seconds to think. After the interview, don’t forget to send a thank you note to the interviewer; this is very important! Show them how thankful you are for their time and giving you the opportunity to be interviewed.
Got turn down?
After you tried your butt off, you might not necessarily land an internship. It’s okay. You will learn from those experiences and one thing for sure; it’s time to start building the résumé. Start building projects and involving in community: school, church, volunteering, clubs, and student organizations, anything. Not only will these gives you something to talk about, but also will develop your skills. Lastly, internship doesn’t give you experience, it gives you exposure. So, don’t sweat too much; and, it’s time to develop personally. Yea!