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Apply for an Internship

Apply for an Internship

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.

Interview Mistakes

Avoid These Interview Mistakes

Spring time is around the corner which means new jobs are almost ripe for the picking, however the interview process does all the choosing. Being a fresh face in the work force or even if you’re a seasoned veteran can have its intimidating moments when you’re looking for that perfect new job. It’s understandable that an interview isn’t as easy as one, two, three, but with a few easy reminder tips, that looming interview will be a simple stroll through the park.

1. Not doing your research

Doing your homework on an establishment before even applying for the role is imperative as it will save everyone’s time. Knowing the hours of operation, what some customer reviews say, or even asking an employee what a typical day is like at the prospective company is nothing to be ashamed of. Everything mentioned down to not knowing what you’re interviewing for can lead to a failed interview. Always remember that your time is as valuable as a potential employer’s.

2. Not knowing what you want

After investigating your potential opportunity always remember firstly what it is you want out of this job and second what you want out of this interview. As much as you’re walking in to the interview and hoping the employer chooses you, keep in mind that you should also be in a position to walk away from the meeting knowing more about this new venture than before you walked in. Generally not knowing the job spec could backfire and be a waste of time for both parties.

3. Don’t rely on your comfort zone

A group setting-style interview may mean that you will be interviewed alongside other potential candidates or interviewed by multiple senior staff members. Both scenarios are uncomfortable and not very appealing but both require your full attention and both need you to leave a lasting impression regardless. Don’t rely on your comfort zone during a make-or-break conversation.

4. Remember! Try and always give an answer

Whether you’re about to take on your first interview or your fifth interview, it’s key to always answer the questions. During a “get-to-know-each-other” conversation, there’s not too may wrong answers you can give when the interview is all about you as a candidate for employment. Over-thinking questions can lead to a mind blank for answers but taking a few seconds to gather your thoughts isn’t something to shy away from.

5. Not having examples ready for behavioral interview questions

This one ties in with point number four, however, this can tend to be a bit trickier for those with not much work experience and those with plenty. In her 5 Biggest Job Interview Mistakes article on Linkedin, career coach Lori Bumgarner writes “Behavioral questions are asked not to see how you would potentially handle a certain situation, but instead to see how you’ve handled that situation in the past. This is because past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.” This is a great question because it’s an opportunity to paint a picture of how you handle situations.

6. Do Not answer in generalities

Specific and definitive answers are the best and only way to go in to any kind of interview. You should be able to walk away from a talk knowing what answers you gave and what questions were being asked of you. Your personality shouldn’t be forgotten when it comes to a question regarding your interest in applying for the job.

7. Being distracted

The last thing you want is to be distracted—or distract your interviewer­—during an interview. Avoid fiddling with something in your hands, rambling, slouching, chewing gum, and not make eye contact. These things can make you come off as being uninterested because all of these things are, in one way or another, a distraction. A straight posture, a focused yet relaxed demeanor, and an on-topic discussion about why you’re there is the best path to stay on.

8. Not having questions or notes prepared

Lastly, a common mistake potential candidates make is to arrive to an interview empty-handed. A great and easy way to stand out and give you a better understanding of what you’re signing up for is to have a few questions of your own prepared. If needed, also be ready to take notes. Think of questions that no one is probably asking like what the company’s work ethics are or what opportunities will you be given to climb the career ladder. This is an effective way to get a genuine interest going in you as a possible new employee.

Further reading: Free Courses to Boost Your Resume

Job After College

How to Land a Job after College

While graduation seems like it’s a long time away, before you know it you’ll be launched into the world of work. With thousands of students graduating across the country it can feel like a mad scramble to get a job after college. In the wise words of The Hitchhikers’ Guide to The Galaxy: “don’t panic”. With just a little time and effort, you too can join the ranks of working Americans with your very own job. We’ve collected some advice that you may find useful in your job search.

Figure out what your dream job is

Do you have any specific interests? Are there any skills you have that you want to be able to use in a future career? Try and figure out where you want to be in 10 years time and use that as your goal. Maybe you want to be a writer, a lawyer or a marine biologist. Pick out skills or experience that you’ll need to achieve this goal and work towards it in your search for a job after college.

Don’t worry about landing your dream job to begin with

This nugget of advice may seem contradictory to the previous, but it’s true. Very few people find themselves with their ideal job as the first one they get. Instead, apply for jobs with similar elements to your dream role, and use it to work on your transferrable skills. Employers may be nervous about hiring a graduate who doesn’t have much experience, so try and use your first job after college to show future employers that you are a reliable worker. You could try to enter the industry you eventually want to end up in, but don’t be discouraged if you have to start at the very bottom of the ladder.

Utilise your assets

We live in a world of endless technological possibilities—why are you stuck using emails and phone calls to try and get yourself a job? With social media, there are hundreds of employers looking to hire. LinkedIn allows you to showcase your skills while applying for jobs. You could even create your own website to properly advertise yourself on. Take charge of your personal branding so that people can reach out to you, or see what you’re made of when they’re considering hiring you.

Network your ass off to land a job after college

Who is doing what you want to do? Find people with your ideal job and reach out to them. Try not to be creepy or annoying—instead, contribute to their conversations on Twitter, or respond positively to their work. There are plenty of networking events and career fairs you could attend in order to meet like-minded people. Be confident, introduce yourself and let them know you’re available.

Don’t give up on your dreams

There is always going to be that one person who gets the perfect job after college having sent out just one application. Whether you send out one, 10 or 100 applications, don’t lose hope that you’re going to get to where you need. Take care of your mental health during your job search—take breaks when you need to and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Just make sure you keep that end goal in sight.

Further reading: Nail a Successful Job Interview