There are all sorts of ways to apply for an internship. The best way to stand out is to do what everyone else around you aren’t doing. The search for the right opportunity is time consuming enough but learning how to stand out to potential employers, thankfully, goes hand-in-hand with all the time you’re investing in your search.
Internships are slightly different to regular jobs. Typically, an internship has a set duration contract—this can be anything from two weeks to three months and up to a year. Sometimes you may not be compensated for your time spent interning. Of course a young student is looking to make money, but one reason why a pay cut may be worth the risk is because job experience is the main objective. The goal is to walk away with hands-on experience that a newcomer applying for an entry level permanent position may not have.
Use skills gained at college
A great way to set yourself apart from your competitors is to pull any experiences you have gained from your classes at college that could be tailored to your field of interest. For example, this may be writing and research skills that you have obtained from your studies that you can apply to a writing internship. Being in a space that you share with fellow like-minded classmates can create some dialogue or scenarios that may be relevant to landing an internship. The first thing people typically do in the application process is try to pull from past work environments at former jobs. You’re trying to grab your potential employers’ attention in a way that others aren’t, so just referencing old jobs won’t entirely work.
Your field of study should be a passion of yours. Going over your accomplishments and what you’ve individually taken from each course at college and putting it on your CV for when you apply for an internship can be a nice addition to any work experience you have.
Writing your resume
In an article for CV-Library, content writer for Rate My Placement and Rate My Apprenticeship Conor Reilley says that employers may not get to thoroughly read each application. Reilley goes on to say, “The general rule is that an employer will look at the top half of every CV, putting the best in one pile, and the rest in the trash with their half-eaten tuna sandwich. If you want to avoid the tuna sandwich focus on key employable skills, like organization, verbal and written communication. You can look at the information provided in job vacancies for inspiration.”
Use your interests
One other thing that will give you the upper hand when you apply for an internship is letting the employer know somewhere on your CV your interests outside of interning and school. If your hobbies and interests relate to the opportunity that’s being offered—such as reading and writing, if the job you’re applying for is editorial-driven—that’s an even better way to get noticed in the most organic way possible. Being a member of a university’s societies and extra-curricular activities show you are sociable, willing and comfortable in a team setting.
Think about your references
Finally, references can be that extra shot of vitamins that your CV needs for when you apply for an internship. References to back-up your employment history are great because it reinforces to potential employers that you have already laid a lot of ground work for the role. The last thing you need is a former employer contradicting information you’ve already stated. Have a conversation with past and current instructors and employers who you believe are in your corner and wouldn’t mind helping out if needed. Three references are plenty and you don’t need to list them when first sending in your CV. Writing “References provided upon the request” at the end of your resume will suffice. Hold on to them because if they are mesmerized by your application for employment, they will reach out to you for further details.