An internship is defined as an entry-level work experience program for the students near to their graduation; in a reputed organization. Most organizations offer their summer and winter internship programs each year. An internship provides ground-level experience to the students based on which they can apply for jobs after graduation.
Finding internships and then submitting an application to be a part of an internship program may feel like a hectic thing to do, and frankly, sometimes it is. Now, you can’t go about knocking at the doors of every organization and beg them to give you an internship. What you can do is, learn the right way, and act upon it. Luckily we are here to provide you just that.
First things first, you need to take the process of finding an internship on the right time seriously. Think of applying for an internship like you are applying for a job. Some hotshot internships require the applicants to wait for a whole year because most organizations have limited intern vacancies. These internships have applications pouring in every minute. So, in order to leave a mark among thousands of applicants, make sure that your internship application is top-notch and stands out of thousands of applications. After perfecting your application method, you can start looking for internships and apply.
How to Apply for Internships?
Different organizations prefer different methods of internship applications. Some have an online application form whereby you fill out your required details. Others only give out an email address and you are supposed to send out your résumé and cover letter on that email address. There is much more room for leaving an impression in the latter method. There will be times when you will be applying for an internship that you don’t know much about. You may have heard about such openings from your peers. These are called speculative applications. But regardless of that, you need to bear the following things in mind:
- What can you offer the company you are applying to?
- What the company is looking for in its interns and how do you fit into that persona?
- Why would you want to work for that organization?
Your application should make you look like a potential asset for an organization. Most organizations specify the skills, qualifications, and qualities they are looking for in their prospective interns, but generally speaking, every organization needs the kind of intern who is passionate, can take the lead whenever needed, and is not afraid of taking challenges.
- Online internship Application Forms:
Some big companies ask applicants to fill out an application form. Now, such organizations usually have a huge traffic of applicants and they have computerized filters to filter out irrelevant applications. Make sure that you answer each question completely, but also be sure to keep it short. Proofread your application to avoid sending an application with grammatical errors and typos.
If the application form allows some open-ended answers, don’t forget to mention how fit you are to take up this internship. Back your answers up with examples that show your knack for professionalism.
- Sending an Application to an Email address:
Apart from online application forms, several companies also prefer to give an email address on which applicants can send in their applications. In case that email address is generic, call that company and ask the name of the person to whom the application is addressed. Always fill out the subject line of the email you are sending. The subject line mentions the position for which you are applying.
In the email, you are meant to send out your CV and cover letter (not mandatory, but recommended). The cover letter can be sent as an attachment or it can be incorporated in the body of the email.
The cover letter should be short and simple. It should not be more than one page (an A4-sized page). It should be divided into three or four paragraphs and each paragraph should have a purpose to follow. Like, why do you want to work with a particular company? What is your skill set and how it aligns with their requirements? How taking you on board will contribute to that organization? Or, what kind of work you are interested in doing?
The CV should be tailor-made for every application. That means you may need to exclude and include things according to the requirements of each company. Drop out the irrelevant information keep only those things that showcase your (relevant) skills and qualifications.
- Speculative Internship Applications:
These applications are slightly trickier to handle because here you don’t know much about the internship requirements. In this case, your best bet is to call the company and ask for the person in charge of handling the applications (so that you can address him/her personally). You may also want to mention the department or area that you would like to work in. Also, specify when you will be available to start.
A well-thought-out CV and cover letter, which are tailor-made for every position, can surely land you an internship. Don’t despair if you do not hear back from people. The first time is always the hardest especially when it comes to getting an internship offer. After that, it is usually a smooth sail.
Mistakes to Avoid while Searching an Internship or during the application process:
There are some mistakes that applicants make which are really off-putting for the employers. You need to avoid those mistakes in order to get an internship in your dream organization.
- Missing the Deadline:
Some applicants send their applications after the deadline has passed. The employer can sometimes be kind enough to still consider that application. But this leaves a really bad first impression.
- Sending the Same application everywhere:
Some applicants send the same CV and cover letter everywhere. Believe us, employers can tell when you have used the same application in 30 different places. The applications should be customized to suit the needs of each organization.
- Applying at only a few places:
Landing an internship offer is harder than ever. You should strive to increase your chances of landing one. For that, you should apply for at least 15 places every two weeks. If you start receiving interview calls from them, you can reduce that number down.
- Screwing up the Interview:
Some applicants are passionate about just applying for internships, but they are not very well-prepared for the interview. This is when things can go south for them. Applicants should be confident, should know the answers to the questions being asked, and should sound passionate about working with the company.