In the case of many young professionals, fall is often the time for finding a valuable internship that might lead them into full-time employment afterward. Fall internships can be a critical part of a professional’s success. Getting one that acts as a segue into a professional environment is worth doing a bit of preparation.
The business world has become quite competitive, especially in its hunt for new talent. Taking a few appropriate steps today can help you to prepare yourself for the inevitable scrutiny any potential employers will have for your past. To help, 16 associates of Forbes Coaches Council weigh in on the strategies that can help young professionals get that fall internship they’ve been looking for.
Get Clear On The Internship You Want
Get clear on the internship you want, then start immediately. Be proactive by reaching out to the organization and asking about their most pressing needs or challenges. Take the initiative and do some research, put together a proposal, or use your skills and networks to present a plan of action to them on the ways in which you can help meet their current needs or alleviate their current challenges. – Carol Parker Walsh, Carol Parker Walsh Consulting, LLC
Research Companies You’re Interested In
Determine the companies you’d like to obtain an internship with. Do a comprehensive analysis of a specific company’s needs. You can look at their website, Google News, content from various people in the organization, and through that research, pick one initiative. Then determine how you can provide value and create an asset: a PowerPoint, video or proposal outlining the exact steps of how you can help. – Jordan Carroll, The Remote Job Coach
Know Your Strengths
Do your research and know your strengths. Submit applications, tailor your resume for the role if needed. Connect on LinkedIn for contacts at companies that may not advertise a formal intern application process. Ask contacts for an introduction or mock interview. People are generally helpful for young job seekers! Keep track of everything on a spreadsheet. Send yourself reminders to follow up. – Susan Sadler, Sadler Communications LLC
Google yourself! It may be one of the first things an organization does when filling internships. What does your social media presence say about you? If you don’t like the answer, now is the time to take action. – Amy Leneker, Compass Consulting, LLC
Concentrate solely on how you might help a company with your skills and hard work. An internship benefits you, but your work is what benefits the company. Don’t initially worry about whether they can pay or not. Even if they say they can’t, they might appreciate your work enough to pay, or to offer goods or services in lieu of payment. Be invaluable. They’ll value you. – Tom Kolditz, Doerr Institute for New Leaders
Update Your Resume, Interview Skills
Not in any particular order, but a young person’s strategy should include updating his/her resume and posting on LinkedIn and other job boards, honing their interview skills, and posting to online internship boards. And if you are keen on a set industry, seek out a mentor and join an industry organization to leverage the available network. – Sandra Hill, New Horizen Coaching & Professional Growth Advancement
Make A List Of Resources
One strategy I highly recommend is to make a list of resources that you can leverage to find answers to questions you have. Resources can include books, podcasts, videos, documents, articles and people. When you demonstrate that you are not afraid to take initiative to find answers, you will impress yourself and your superiors. Do your homework. Ask great questions. – Debra Kasowski, Debra Kasowski International
Embrace Emerging Technologies
Young people who proactively embrace emerging technologies like the cloud will have a competitive advantage. The cloud skills gap has doubled over the past three years. As superjobs emerge, cloud skills will become a cornerstone skill, not just an IT skill. Proactively take advantage of the free-to-inexpensive online learning and certifications offered by AWS Cloud, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud. – Tracy Levine, Advantage Talent, Inc.
Use Internship Job Boards
Use internship job boards like Chegg Internships or WayUp. Complete your profile on the sites early. Many of them will allow you to select the semester(s) during which you would like to work one to two years out. This way, you can be on the radar of employers on a constant basis. – Karan Rhodes, Shockingly Different Leadership
Make Connections On LinkedIn
There are no strangers, just friends you haven’t met yet. With millions of employers in one database, LinkedIn may be your most convenient and best resource for landing your internship. Connect with as many people as you can. Research company pages and learn what opportunities are out there. Ask connections for introductions through LinkedIn to possible hiring managers. Start today. – Christine Rose, Christine Rose Coaching & Consulting
Talk With Current And Former Interns
Begin by finding interns who currently or previously held internships at your dream companies. These individuals already landed the role you want, and their bosses are likely to be the hiring manager. Conduct informational interviews with them to learn what they like about the company and how they landed their internship. If things go well, you may receive an intro to the hiring manager. – Kyle Elliott, MPA, CHES, CaffeinatedKyle.com
Don’t Be Afraid To Just Ask
Young people simply need to ask. This strategy is simple but effective. One of the top reasons most young people don’t get the opportunities they want is that they are too afraid to ask. Thirty years ago, when I was asking for an internship at a firm and had no experience, I prepared and asked one of my older friends for advice. She said, just “ask.” Never underestimate the power of the “ask.” – Adriana Rosales, Adriana & Company™ LLC
Build, Broaden And Use Your Network
Build, broaden and use your network. Let people know that you are looking and are available for internships. Regularly inform the people already in your network: friends/family, professors, career counselor, colleagues, people you pray or play with — in person and/or on social media. You can also broaden your reach by asking each person you know for a suggestion of someone else to reach out to. – Palena Neale, Ph.D, unabridged
Find Internship Advocates
Find internship advocates in the recruiting field. Nothing makes a recruiting or staffing company look better than sending out top “candidates” who a company hires permanently or contract-wise. One local company like this decided to forward interns who lost their internship due to the economy to local businesses, and their reputation grew even without the recruiting fee. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
Leverage Online Courses And Programs
There are many free massive open online courses or even subscription learning programs such as LinkedIn Learning or Udemy where students can acquire new skills to get ready for the fall. Whether it is Excel, website building or digital marketing, students can quickly acquire a certificate within weeks and demonstrate applicable skills to potential employers and stand out from other interns. – Kelly Huang, Genesis Advisers
Put Together A Personalized Video
A creative way to land a fall internship and stand out from your peers is to put together a personalized video that showcases your communication skills and personality conveying what you will contribute to a company. The majority of college students will send emails, cover letters and resumes. Don’t be afraid to stand out and let your personality shine. – Christie Samson