If you wish to get a taste of that career path that you have always dreamed of, landing an internship in the company you aspire to work in would be a great start. Internships allow you to gain more experience in your chosen field as well as expose you to valuable networking opportunities. If you prove yourself worthy, you might even be offered a full-time position after you graduate! Before you embark on your search, here are some tips to help you find and nail your dream internship.
Know Thy Wants
Before you send your CV, take some time to think about the types of industry and job scopes you prefer. Read up on industries you are interested to gain a better understanding on and weigh your options as to which route is more aligned to your interests and skills set. Once you have all these established, your internship hunt becomes easier.
Get Resourceful in School
Many companies collaborate with schools and open up positions to students via the school’s career service portal. Login regularly to check on the latest internship openings and apply for those that catch your interest. Do take note of the application deadlines to make sure you do not miss them.
Tap On Your Network
Do not feel shy or hesitate to speak to your lecturers or anyone you know whom you think might be able to help you out. Talk to your family and friends about your career ambitions and goals or even tell them honestly about your search for an internship. You never know, they might have the connections to land you your internship.
Come up with a list of companies that you would want to intern at and contact their Human Resource department to enquire about internship openings. They will give you the contact details of the hiring manager to send your resume to.
Beef Up Your CV
Your CV could make or break the chance of you getting an interview. Make sure it is well-written, clearly highlighting your strengths, achievements and relevant job experiences. If you are unsure of your CV’s effectiveness, get your friends or a career guidance counsellor to give you feedback on its quality and content.
Be Prepared for Interviews
Interviews can be nerve-wracking, even for the experienced. But fear not, there are questions that can be prepared in advance. Search for sample interview questions online or come up with your own list. Think through or write down your answers for each question so that during your interview, you would be able to answer your interviewer smoothly without fumbling for the right words.
Appearances often determine first impressions. For interviews, wear well-ironed clothes, stain-free shoes, minimal accessories and neat hair which do not cover half your face. Formal business attires like a crisp shirt with skirt or pants for ladies and trousers for guys are the safest bets. In the event that your top gets crumpled or you get embarrassing sweat patches on the way to your interview, donning a blazer will help to hide these grooming faux pas.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Interviewers may ask you questions that catch you off-guard. Relax and speak slightly slower so that you would have time to think as you speak. This is a common practice for accounting and finance-related positions as the interviewer wants to assess if you are truly a suitable candidate for the job based on your knowledge of current affairs, industry practices, concepts used etc. Revise what you have studied in school and read the papers so you will not be stumped for a reply.
Send a ‘Thank You’ Note to Your Interviewer
After your interview, send an email to your interviewer to thank them for their time. Let them know that you wish to hear from them again within the next few days to show your sincerity in the position.
These are just some of the general guidelines that you can follow. Of course, standards may differ across companies and industries so talk to people around you and exchange ideas and tips with each other. That way you could get a better understanding of your chosen field. All the best in getting that internship you want!