Summer internships have become commonplace, and it appears most companies will want their incoming graduates to have had experience in the field, usually in the form of an internship. Whilst extremely competitive, internships have become a seminal way to set yourself apart from other applicants.
In the modern world we live in, that dream job has become even more of a highly sought-after commodity. Not only are more people than ever getting degrees, as our world becomes more connected, the competitive pool is getting larger all the time. It seems now that pinning down a summer internship whilst at university is essential in the career ladder to help secure those top graduate roles. Let’s face it, if it’s between someone with no experience and someone who has worked for two summers in the field they’re applying for, we know who the employer is likely to pick.
So, we’ve acknowledged that getting an internship can be a very important step in securing your dream grad job, but how do I improve my chances of getting one and where do I begin?
Make sure you want it
As the application process can be long and time consuming it’s important to ask yourself if this is really what you want to be doing. If you’re not particularly interested, it will show in the interviews and ultimately leave you unsuccessful anyway.
On the flip side, there is nothing wrong with applying to as many internships as possible as it gives you great experience. The online tests required by a lot of companies are generally the same processes that are carried out in the grad scheme applications. Therefore, getting through the trial-and-error process now may make you more successful in the long run.
Know the deadlines
Unfortunately, applying for things on a whim is now a thing of the past. Most summer internships have hard deadlines which means planning in advance is essential to avoid missing out. If you wanted to start your internship in summer 2021 for example, it would have been a good idea to get the ball rolling as early as the previous September. This is because most companies have application deadlines around December. Don’t worry, there are still places accepting applications and others that work on a rolling basis, such as EY and KPMG. With this being said, essentially, the earlier the better as it leaves you with far more options.
Learn the system
Make sure you have a look at the software companies use for their online tests, this provides insight into what they will be looking for when marking and it helps to tailor your exam technique.
The more you know, the better the results.
Perfect online presence
In this day and age, it is important to be aware of our online presence as the rumours are true, employers do check. That means any incriminating social media posts or tags need to be dutifully removed. Creating a professional looking LinkedIn account is also a good idea.
For the creative industries especially, creating a digital portfolio is a great way to connect your potential employer with your skills. Setting up a free webspace on something like WordPress is a simple and effective way if you want to look accomplished.
Nail the interview
Step 1: Three things to remember
There are dozens of guides to help prepare for interviews and all offer useful tips, but personally, I think it’s important to make sure you are confident on three key areas as they will inevitably come up:
- Knowing the company’s ethos, outlook and aims
It may be obvious, but it is essential you know the company you’re being interviewed for.
- Having an awareness of the industry at large
Employers would like to see you know about the industry you’re applying to. It shows an active interest as well as commitment.
- The location/city where the company’s offices are
It’s useful to know your potential workplace and shows employers you’re serious about the position if you’ve gone the extra lengths.
Step 2: Print your materials
Familiarising yourself with a physical copy of your notes, CV and cover letter before the interview is useful. As a CV and a cover letter are usually the most substantial pieces of information an employer will have about you, they generally pull questions from them in the interview. Being uncertain on elements of either will not only make you look unprepared, but it could also make you panic and derail the rest of the interview.
It is also useful in your printed notes to have some questions prepared to ask them. Employers like that you have taken initiative and thought independently.
Step 3: Dressing to impress
Looking the part is pivotal. Dressing for the occasion signals to your interviewer professionalism and whether we like it or not, appearances make a lasting impression. Looking the part is also essential to feeling the part and bolstering confidence. Thankfully at Saenguin, this is exactly what we are set up to help you with.
Hopefully these have been some useful steps to help make those internships goals a reality, but ultimately not getting accepted to the placement you want is not the be-all and end-all. The workplace is so competitive, so if you don’t make it on the first try don’t worry, you definitely won’t be the only one. Companies like resilience and determination, show them what they’re missing and don’t give up!