05 February 2013

Tips for Landing an Internship

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For college students looking to get a head start with their career, a summer internship is invaluable. It gives you a chance to get a bird’s-eye view of the industry in which you aspire to work. It also gives you the chance to work with the industry’s top professionals and win an offer for a full-time job.

According to the experts, it is often harder to get a summer internship than a full-time job. This is because the top firms hire fewer interns than full-time employees. With opportunities being fewer and competition being stiffer, it is necessary that you show dedication and passion in your search. To help you win an impressive internship, we present some useful tips.

1.     Start the hunt early

Winning an internship involves a lot of hard work, so it is recommended that you start your hunt early. Here are step-by-step instructions to help you start your hunt:
a.     Identify the industry that interests you most – The first thing you must do is identify the industry in which you want to work
b.     Short-list a few companies – Conduct research on different companies to learn which ones suit your aspirations better
c.     Narrow down your list to one or two names – Read news articles about the companies that you have shortlisted, go through their annual reports, learn more about their top managers, and/or talk to your seniors to know how these companies compare with each other. If possible, try to meet the potential employers personally.


You must start preparations early and prepare well. MBA students who wait too long invariably fail to win an internship with their targeted companies.

1.     Identify influential contacts

Do you know anyone who can help you win an interview with your potential employer? If yes, befriend these people. However, it is necessary that you approach them cautiously and do not bombard them with phone calls or emails. Experts recommend that you follow the three-day rule, that is, send an email or give a call only once in 3 days. Be polite when asking for help, and keep the conversation simple and short. 

2.     Be proactive

By being proactive, you can increase your chances of winning an internship with a top company considerably. You can strengthen your resume and make valuable contacts by participating in the following activities:
·       Doing group project work
·       Working with your teachers on research projects
·       Participating in professional conferences

3.     Practice hard

You must prepare well before an interview. For this purpose, you can seek the help of your fellow classmates. Participate in mock interviews with your fellow classmates, as it will boost your confidence and help you prepare answers for likely questions.

4.     Highlight your strengths in the interview

Your success in an interview will depend on how well you promote yourself. It is imperative that you make good use of every opportunity that comes your way to tell the interviewer you are the best candidate for the job.

The interview also gives you the opportunity to know more about the internship for which you are being interviewed. It is necessary that you try to find out as much as possible about it from the interviewer. This will help you decide if the internship gives you the valuable exposure that you are seeking or not.

 Erik Larson is a master’s level career counselor and an internationally certified as a Career Management Practitioner (CMP) by the Institute for Career Certification International. He was also recognized as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through the National Board for Certified Counselors. You can check out his site at ResumeIndex.com.

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