If you’re trying to land an internship this year, you’ve already heard the standard advice: Use your network, research the company, dress appropriately for the interview, and so on. But what else can you do to stand out from the competition? Your best bet is to use a few old tricks along with some new ones that previous generations didn’t have. Keep these three tips in mind while you search for your dream internship.
Think Outside Your Major
You should definitely apply for the positions that best suit your long-term goals, and that might mean staying within your major. However, it’s important to consider internships outside your major. Part of the college experience is discovering who you are. Is there an opportunity that appeals to you but doesn’t quite fit your area of study? Apply for it anyway. Many of your skills are transferable, and you’ll enjoy your internship more if you’re genuinely interested in the company.
It’s also a good idea to look outside your major if you’re not having luck with your search. Going with a company that’s not your first choice isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You could learn skills you wouldn’t have learned elsewhere, and you might actually like the position. Sometimes the best opportunities are found in unexpected places.
Edit Your Social Media
When you use social media wisely, it can improve your chances of finding an internship or a job. There’s a good chance that recruiters will check your Facebook page and other social media, so make sure your online presence looks professional. Remove any photos or posts with profanity, nudity, alcohol, or drugs.
If you want to connect with companies through LinkedIn, you should keep your account up-to-date — a blank or an incomplete profile is a turnoff. Using a selfie for your profile photo is another no-no. If you don’t have a professional-looking photo of yourself, get help from a friend who’s good with a camera.
Know What You Want
This is an age-old tip that still works. Recruiters don’t want a half-interested student who just wants to fulfill his or her internship requirement. They want someone who cares about the company and the work it does. Apply to companies that genuinely interest you. Tailor each application for each company. A generic cover letter or a resume shows lack of interest and usually ends up in the rejection pile.
Let your passion show. If you have a blog dedicated to the subject — maybe you have a fashion blog, and you’re applying for a PR position at a fashion company — mention it in your application. Talk about your long-term goals during the job interview. Showing that you’re driven can help you stand out above other applicants.
By following these three tips, you’ll improve your chances of scoring your dream internship. Just keep in mind that some internships are highly sought after, and rejection is inevitable. Don’t give up. Contact the organization for feedback to find out what you can do in the future to improve your resume or interview. With perseverance, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.