Internships 3 – Making a Start

Step One In Interning – Do Something.

So by this stage you should have done your research. You probably even have a list of companies you’re tentatively thinking of approaching for an internship. Now is the time to put your preparation into action and get that Internship.

The first step is to get over the initial hurdle in reluctance. Many people find it difficult to approach companies and organizations. They may wonder what their parents will think, whether they’re making the right decision or what might happen if it all goes wrong. Such thoughts are understandable, but largely misguided. Unless you truly and spectacularly fail, the worst that can happen is that you will have lost nothing. And even in the first case, the problem lies with the employer for ever allowing an intern into a position where they could hurt the organization so badly.

The next step is an honest assessment of your personal abilities. If the position you want requires particular skills or training, now is the time to address that if at all possible. That said, don’t let that put you off – the entire point of an internship is to get skills and training. While in some cases, a prior qualification may be mandatory, in many situations a company will be prepared to train you on the job as it were.

Now then, feeling confident and ready to grab the bull by the horns? It’s time to make contact.

Contacting Employers.

First impressions count, they really do. However you choose to approach potential employers, whatever you say first, or whatever they see first will determine their overwhelming opinions of you from that point on. Slip up at this stage and you can kiss your chances at an internship goodbye.

writingThe centrepiece of your application for an Internship will be your CV or resume. This is a short summary about yourself, your achievements, qualifications and history upon which your hopes of landing the Internship largely fall. That’s why it’s essential that you make it as good as you can.

There are plenty of resources online on how to create a great resume. How to write a great CV would be its own article which we can’t cover here, but here are a few key tips:

  •  You have up to 2 A4 Sheets of Paper worth to use.  
  • Use formatting and text change sizes to make your document look more appealing and read better.
  • Proof Read, Grammar and Spellcheck EVERYTHING. There is nothing more embarrassing than not getting a reply because you listed the wrong e-mail address and never received it.
  • If possible, consult a careers advisor or expert. Even feedback from a friend can help you determine if you are positively selling yourself.

typingYour CV should be accompanied by a cover letter, a short document explaining who you are, what you want and what you have to offer the company. This should take up no more than a single sheet of A4 and should be written like a business correspondence, since, quite honestly, that’s exactly what it is.

Once you have your CV, cover letter and a destination, you need to ensure it gets there as best as possible. When e-mailing, if the employer provides you with any guidelines, for example favoured formats or preference for sending your documents as attachments, follow them. Otherwise it’s advisable to include the body of text from your CV and Cover letter in your e-mail, as well as attach them as separate files to cover all situations.

However, if you are mailing your resume, it’s essential that you do so using good quality paper so as to give the best impression you can to your potential employer. Should you decide to deliver it by hand, remember again the lesson of first impressions and ensure that you turn up professionally when you give it over to the receptionist or whoever takes it from you.