A few weeks ago I applied to and received my dream internship. Looking back on my experience leading to my internship I realized that there are a lot of things that people might not think about doing, so I’ve decided to share some tips to help anyone seeking an internship.
1) Don’t wait.
I think this is the biggest problem for a lot of people. When you know that you need to or want to do an internship you need to constantly be invested in that journey. They key to getting your dream internship is the prep work leading up to that point. I am a music therapy major, so I spent countless hours practicing music specific to the internship,researching the facility, researching the population. I wanted to make sure that I made myself into what the facility needed. So make sure that you’re as good as you can be at your trade and constantly work towards that internship.
2) Make decisions.
You might not know much about internships. If you don’t have a dream internship, then pick the place that you want to travel to. Music therapy students have specific internships that they are allowed to do, but my fiancé was a mass communications major and his internship was different. He decided that he wanted to be in Augusta with me surfing his internship, so he emailed a lot of different places in Augusta until he found someone willing to take on an intern. There are too many options to search through them all, so you need to make some decisions about what you want to narrow the field.
3) Experience is key.
Get as much experience in your trade as you can. Take on any opportunities that you are offered. As a music therapy major, I tried to work with as many different populations and in as many different facilities as possible. As a mass communication major, my fiancé did as many radio shows, videos, and graphic designing jobs as he could find. Don’t let an opportunity pass you because it could be the key to bettering yourself and better preparing for your chosen field.
4) Make the Right Resume.
Resumes are not simple. If done correctly, your resume will be one of the most difficult parts of your job search. Grabbing a Microsoft Word resume template to fill in the gaps is a bad idea (unless your goal is to completely blend in with the competition). Your resume’s ideal style will depend on your field of choice. In most cases, you’ll want your resume to only be one page, and it should only contain the most relevant information (your high school debate team championship doesn’t matter to anyone). If you’re in a creative field like music, art or communication, you’ll want to put some color in your resume. Adding colors for headings or important achievements can help you stand out, as well as organizing your content in a different way. In a business or science field, you’ll want to go a more simple route, with an easier to follow structure. In any case, it’s never a bad idea to design a personal logo or letterhead to help you stand out.
5) Challenge yourself.
This is very crucial. Due to the way society is today, we often just due the smallest amount we can to get by, but when you’re seeking a successful career this isn’t enough. You want to be the best you can be. Go out of your way to challenge yourself; learn new techniques or get out of your comfort zones. Try to do things that you believe to be out of your ability d make them in your ability. As a music therapy major, I have challenged myself to learn songs that I didn’t think I was capable of playing and I have challenged myself to listen to songs and find the chords to better my ear training. These are just little things that you can work on for about ten minutes everyday that will make a word of difference in the future.
6) Make a First Impression.
Don’t wait until the day of your interview to meet your potential supervisors. Set up a day beforehand that will give you a chance not only to meet them, but also get a feel of the environment that the internship is in. If you can’t go to the facility, at least attempt to make contact with the facility before your interview.
7) Be professional.
From the moment you first make contact with an internship, you want to be professional. When writing make sure that you read over what you have written a few times. You need to make sure that it makes sense and that you are using good grammar and punctuation. When asking questions, remember not to ask too many at once. When you meet the supervisors, dress professionally. Wear practical shoes. If you think a skirt might be too short don’t risk it. Pants are always the safest option. Wear a shirt that covers you well. Also make sure that your hair is presentable. Look your best because not only will it be noted by this you are meeting, but when you look and feel your best you will also have confidence.
8) Be yourself.
You don’t want to try and be the person that you think the facility wants. You want to be yourself. If you have put in the work and effort to be your best then your personality is what needs to shine and put you over the top. Being yourself will make the process a lot easier and quite frankly if you aren’t loved for who you are then that isn’t a place that you want to work.
9) Don’t Settle.
When you have a dream facility that you want to be at, then go for it. Apply to that job even if you think it’s out of reach. You need to be somewhere you want to be and that you believe will help you grow in your field. Don’t settle for anything less than you deserve. If you do the preparation that you know you need to do, then you shouldn’t have to settle for anything. But when I say don’t settle you need to know that if you don’t work hard, then your only option is to settle. You can only receive what you’ve work for.
10) Ask for Help.
Remember that it is ok to ask for help. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak. It takes a lot to humble yourself and ask another person for help, but know that in the long run it will do so much good. Knowledge is power and improvement and sometimes that knowledge is best given to you by others.