Ten Tips to Score an Internship

I give you the ten nuggets of intern wisdom hindsight has provided me.

It’s coming to that point in the semester where you’ll likely have a few months of nothingness to look forward to – but, what should the hopeful graduate fill this desolate void with? An internship of course, the only way to productively spend your time without making any money.

It’s not easy to get one, and sometimes it’s even harder to feel any sense of accomplishment when you’re done, but with the heartache of learning firsthand and discovering from feedback – I give you the ten nuggets of intern wisdom hindsight has provided me.

Something that will doom you to failure...
You should definitely not be reading the internship advertisement and expecting to complete the application last minute. I find online applications can be lengthy, and with technical problems and long response questions, trying to write an application last minute is a surefire way to have your application tossed in the trash. It’s best to apply early, write your responses offline, and remember when on webpages to save constantly!

Personalisation is professionalisation
This one is a must! Recruiters will notice if your cover letter is a copy/paste job (perhaps you forgot to update the company name from your last application…), thus if you want the recruiter to make time for you, make sure you make time for your cover letter. It’s their first opportunity to get to know you. Being sloppy with spelling and grammar isn’t ideal. Get a friend to proofread, or research ideal cover letters online… but don’t copy/paste!

A little social media cleanup
Recruiters are getting tech-savvy, and your social media can and will be used to ‘get-to-know-you.’ Perhaps you think that your privacy settings are solid, but they will look at your public photos and information… your friends too. If Australian olympic swimmers Nick D’Arcy and Kenrick Monk can be investigated for a gun selfie, don’t you think it’s wise to rethink those ‘harmless’ photos and posts?

Practice to perfection
It’s easy to research the ‘top 100 interview questions’ and find the time to have your basic responses honed in as second nature. It’s also easy to forget your name and where you studied when stress takes hold. I recommend practicing your responses to nail these questions, so you’re completely prepared for an interview scenario. This can also apply to phone and online interviews. Look in a mirror and practice speaking. Watch your body language, these are all key!

Walk the talk
Dress for the job you want… but it doesn’t mean you need to break the bank! For my first interview, I quickly hopped down to my nearest Southern Cross Apparel for a professional jacket. It was practically brand new, and helped to show my best side. Always dress appropriately, and be comfortable, I can’t stress this enough! Don’t wear tight clothes, carry a huge bag, or wear inappropriate heels. Your mind will be elsewhere in the interview, and you’ll make the wrong lasting impression.

Rehearse your verse
Congrats, you are sitting across from the recruiter. You feel confident… and then they throw you a curveball question. Knowing your résumé, and building a bank of examples to draw from, really helped me to gather my thoughts when I was asked questions I wasn’t prepared for.  Whether it was a group assignment or a bad customer at work, these are all great examples you can relate to…. just try to not repeat your examples when you’re being grilled.

Timeliness is next to Godliness
Don’t like it when friends arrive late? Neither do recruiters. Understandably life can be unpredictable so if you can’t make the interview on time, let them know. Make sure you have all the details correct, and have planned your journey prior to the day.

Be yourself, sell yourself, intern yourself
It may seem egotistical to talk about yourself, but in an interview, the recruiter wants to know about you! Relate to how you complete tasks, can work with others and developed from these experiences. I recommend researching the STAR method, to avoid rambling and keep you on track when the pressure is on!

Have a plan, even if it’s a vague one…
You can’t plan for all interview scenarios, but I noted a common question students have trouble answering, being ‘where do you see yourself in X years?’ It’s pretty tough to nail down a life plan when you still eat cereal out of the box and wear pjs to uni – but, being able to elaborate on a vague plan for your career can be the difference between ‘interning’ at the Maccas drive-through window or at a STEM company.

Failure is just a hurdle
Rejection emails will be a common occurrence. Internship applications take a lot of time, so to save heartache next time, take the feedback and prime your application for next time. Chin up big guy, you’ll get there.

Words by Chelsea Furr

Art by Angharad Neal-Williams

IG – @angharad.art

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