Getting a Job/Internship Tips
With this academic year drawing to a close and the upcoming year fast approaching, I thought it would be nice to discuss with you some tips for getting an internship/job.
The first term when everyone comes back to university is always a hectic one. Especially once the Christmas period gets nearer, a lot of people begin to panic with internship deadlines coming up. My first and perhaps most valuable tip is to prepare in advance. It may even be worth beginning your internship/job prep over the summer! I’d advise you to have a CV ready to go at all times and to ensure that it is the most up-to-date version with all of your most recent experiences. This will be the first stepping-stone to the application process and will mean that you won’t have to worry about thinking of work experience to include last minute before the deadline.
Secondly, what I found really useful was doing prior research into schemes and firms that I was interested in. I made a list of these, their deadlines, and details of the application process so that I could prioritise the ones with earlier deadlines. This again is all about organisation and preparation. The earlier you organise your schedule, the better and easier the process will be in the long run. What I did, was make a list of each company and prepare my CV and cover letter in advance, so that I could tick them off the list once I had submitted it. Not only was this a good way of structuring the process, but it put me at ease once the term had started because I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about constructing a whole new application in time for the deadline.
Following on from preparing in advance, I would suggest making a generic cover letter and CV that you can use as your starting point for all of your applications of choice. From this, you can then go on to tailor your documents according to the specific company and its values. It is so important to do plenty of research into each company and what they stand for. Companies love to know that you have spent time looking into their missions and what they do, and the best way to show them is by utilising your past experiences to evidence some of their desired qualities.
One thing I would stress, despite all I’ve said about getting ahead and preparing in advance, is the importance of spending the time actually figuring out what it is that you want to do and what you want to get out of these internships/jobs. At university, it is so easy to be surrounded by highly driven and fast-paced individuals students who throw themselves into any internship application process they can. But this shouldn’t pressure you into ‘following the crowd’. Yes, it should motivate you, but not to put yourself forward for something you don’t want to do. I really want to emphasise the amount of time it takes to put into the application process; it is incredibly lengthy and time-consuming, especially if you’re applying to multiple different firms. Because of this, it’s that much more important to just pause for a minute and take the time to establish what is right for you. Time is precious – don’t waste it on something you don’t even want to do.
Finally, I can’t stress enough the importance of networking and making connections. People underestimate how far connections can get you, especially when trying to get an internship/job. By broadening your network, it will open up a wealth of opportunities and insight into things that may not otherwise have been made available to you. Before second year, I never thought about making connections or getting LinkedIn, but it is truly a great thing and has benefitted me a lot with the opportunities I’ve had this year.
So in summary: take the time to establish the right path for you before rushing into any application process. Prepare in advance and put yourself ahead of the rest of the applicants, then network like crazy!
I hope this helps and somewhat motivates you. Good luck with all of your applications, if you choose to go down this path!