How To Land Your Dream Internship
An Article written by Dan Bennett. Dan Bennett graduated from New York University in December 2019 with a degree in Media, Culture, and Communication. He has interned on shows such as BUILD Series,The TODAY Show, LIVE with Kelly and Ryan, andSaturday Night Live.
An increasingly important and quintessential part of the college experience is having an internship. Internships let you take what you’ve learned in the classroom and apply it in the working world, while also learning what you like to do, making professional connections, and getting hands on experience that your time on campus might lack. Having even one internship on your resume can help you stand out from the pack when it comes time to apply for your first job out of college. On top of all of this, I also met some of my best friends through interning and we still keep in close contact to this day! But how do you land your dream internship? Here are my four tips to give yourself the best chance of getting that offer letter. 1. Professionalism – This one seems obvious, but you would not believe how often candidates don’t act professional around recruiters and hiring managers! Remember that you are leaving the bubble of collegiate life and talking to people in the working world, whether they be from a multinational corporation or a small startup. Being formal with emails is both expected and important, so save slang for texting with your friends. If you are attending a networking event for a specific company, be sure to wear the appropriate attire if it is mentioned on the invite, or do a quick Google search to see what their company culture is like. However, this can go both ways – I have shown up WAY overdressed for an interview and it did not fit the culture of the brand at all! So always be on your A game and people will take notice. 2. Do Your Research and Ask Questions – Whether you’re talking to a company representative at an event or a hiring manager in a formal interview, the last thing you want to do is not be prepared with questions. Asking good questions demonstrates your interest in the role and the company, as well as showing you took the time to prepare. When an interviewer asks “do you have any questions for me?” you should always be prepared with at least three questions. Some of my favorites include: a. What kind of tasks/projects have interns in this role worked on in the past? b. How would you describe the office culture? And my all-time personal favorite: c. What are some qualities you think make for a great intern on this team? So be prepared to ask informed and insightful questions! 3. The Art of the Thank You Note – So you just aced your interview and feel confident about how you did. However, the interview doesn’t end when you leave the office or hang up the call. Sending a thank you note, whether through email or regular mail, is an essential part of the process. If a hiring manager is stuck between two comparable candidates, but one sent a thank you note while the other did not, that gesture can put you over the top. However, with all things, there is an art to it. Make sure you try to get the email of the person who interviewed you, and send a thank you note ideally 24 hours after your interview takes place. When formatting it, be sure to start by thanking them for taking the time to interview you, and saying how great it was to learn more about the position. It’s also best to mention a specific thing from the interview that you discussed to show you really paid attention. End the email with “Thank you again and I look forward to hearing more soon” and always use formal greetings (“Dear [blank]”) and closings (“Best, [name])! 4. Network, Network, Network!! – Lastly, if you remember anything from this article, you have to network. No ands, ifs, or buts about it. Networking is just as important to securing an internship as all the qualifications in the world, if not more! Go to as many on campus professional events with companies you are interested in as you can, set up a LinkedIn account, and use your school’s alumni network. If you are local, ask them for 15 or 20 minutes of their time to grab coffee and chat about their career (Note: DO NOT ASK FOR AN INTERNSHIP DIRECTLY WHEN COLD EMAILING OR MEETING FOR THE FIRST TIME! This is a bad way to make a first impression!). When the timing is right, you can use the network you have been building up to get advice and referrals for opportunities you have been looking at or may not even have thought of. As I mentioned before, there is an art to this, so saying “xyz company is doing really interesting things and it would be amazing to learn from the team” is always better than “can you get me an internship?” Most of the internships I had at major media companies came from having built a strong network, so let your personality shine through and don’t be afraid to reach out to people! The hunt for the perfect internship can be long and competitive, but use these tips will give you a leg up and bring you one step closer to your career goals!