Want an amazing job? Start using these tips *now*
So you want an amazing internship? Awesome! Unfortunately getting your foot in the door at your dream company isn't as easy as simply wanting it. That's why we rounded up advice from experts, intern success stories and actual interns on how to climb the ladder—plus how to shine after you've landed the gig.
5 smart secrets to getting the internship
Founder of InternQueen.com, Lauren Berger, says she sees letters that say things like, “I’m 15 years old and I want internship.” We get it: You’re excited to apply. But be sure to proofread before you hit send. Or, even better, ask a parent or guidance counselor to read your application, too.
Nail the “Tell me about yourself” question.
Tasked with talking about yourself? Keep your answer short, sweet and to-the-point, briefly explaining why you are the best person to intern at this company.
Let them know you want it.
If you love the company, let them know. “In a world where people often flake, employers want people who want to work there,” Berger shares. Go out of your way at the end of the interview to let the company know you are really interested.
After any interview, send a thank-you email (within 24 hours!) to the person you spoke with—and be sure to reaffirm your excitement about the job. Also reach out to anyone who helped you along the way—being gracious always leaves a lasting impression.
Follow up right.
You sent off your application and... nothing? Don’t panic. Joan Kuhl, the career pro behind the training agency Why Millennials Matter, suggests waiting a week before emailing. (Try something like, “I know you’re busy, but I’m interested in interning with you and I wanted to check in.”) And then? Wait two more weeks before reaching out again.
Real girls spill on how they got hired...
“While chatting at a party, I mentioned to a neighbor that I was looking for an internship. She offered me the gig a few weeks later. I’ve been there ever since!” —Kristine M., 19
“I was completing an editorial test for a spot at a newspaper. I didn’t have any experience, so I just went with my gut—and I ended up tearing apart the editor-in-chief’s latest article! Luckily, they liked my matter-of-fact attitude and hired me anyway.” —Logan P., 20
“I Googled video production places in my area and then ranked them according to their success and location. One day, I put on my most professional dress, drove over to my top choice and walked in with my resume. I talked to the receptionist about internships, even though no positions were posted. Two days later, I got called in for an interview. And I got the job!” —Sarah S., 17
“I told my dad I was looking at this really awesome internship. It turned out he played football in college with someone at the company. He put me in touch with his former teammate, who hired me right away.” —Ariel D., 20
How to impresses your boss each and every day
“As an intern, your time with the company is limited. Do everything you can to leave a positive impression,” says InternQueen ambassador Alyshia Hull. That means showing up on time, staying off your phone, paying attention when given instructions and being the first to pitch in even when the task isn’t exactly exciting (why, yes, you’d just love to stuff goody bags!).
While you don’t want to bug your boss every 10 seconds, this is your time to learn. Don’t be afraid to ask for more details on your assignments and tasks if you aren’t crystal clear on what you need to do.
Companies take on interns for a reason: Students often have a unique perspective to provide, particularly when the company’s product or service is targeting the next generation of consumers. As long as you are respectful and thoughtful, your boss should appreciate your input.
Volunteer for more
“If you feel like you’re ready to take on more tasks, ask for additional ways to help or get involved,” offers Hailey Albright, who held internships at CNBC, Adidas and Her Campus. “Your managers will be impressed and will love the extra assistance.”
Ask your supervisor how you can improve
Constructive criticism isn’t always awesome to hear, but it will help you in the long run. Plus, shares former GL editorial intern Logan Potter, “your supervisor will be super impressed you took the initiative to ask.”
What's your dream internship? Share in the comments below!