Top 10 tips to get an internship

An internship is the first of many rewards a hard-working person gets for dipping a toe into the frigid pool we call the workforce. Melodrama aside, being a college student — anybody who has recently been inducted into adulthood — calls for having your eyes permanently peeled for job opportunities.

With ever-faster Internet speeds and jobs sprouting from places where there were none only minutes ago, one would think that internships might be slightly less difficult to come by. As many of you know however, this is not the case. You will need to seriously think about revamping your standard cover letter, personalizing your look for each interview and putting your high-speed internet access to more fruitful use than you have in life up until this point.

As many of you scramble to finalize plans for the summer, Pulp saved you the trip out in the cold and visited Career Services, located in the basement of Schine Student Center, to collect ten top tips to get the best internship this summer.

  1. Find your interest:

Clichéd advice aside, this is essential because, as previously mentioned, new opportunities are created every day. As a college student, you can use the many resources you have at your fingertips. Upperclassmen and professors have good advice and are only too willing to talk to you and help you narrow down what you like and whether that matches with your ability. Use to your advantage essential search strategies like job boards on,,, and the university’s career fairs.

  1. Know the Industry:

After narrowing down your interests, begin familiarizing yourself with the industry like it is your life’s mission. Who will be your competition? Will you need to take certain classes before interning? Furthermore, different industries recruit at different times; a field like engineering will likely begin recruiting as early as December for a summer internship, while the communications field will recruit much closer to the summer.

  1. Respond to the job description:

This is a neat little strategy: Read your job description carefully, and pick out words that clearly have more importance attached to them. For this, you can analyze your job description in Tag Cloud. In your application, highlight these key words and link them to your skill set and your past experience.

  1. Critique of the Resume and Cover Letter:

A well-polished resume with an equally professional cover letter at its heels may well be your ticket into an industry. Update your resume regularly, and ask for help from a professor or career services to help make it top-notch. More importantly, it must be tailored to fit the needs of each internship.

  1. Keep a Log: 

Keep track of all your applications and take note of these details: the job title and position, the name of the company, the date you applied, the contact information of the company, and the potential dates of a response. It would be a shame if multiple job applications lost themselves in the sea that is your desktop.

  1. Before: 

Always ask yourself these four questions:

“Why do I want this opportunity?”

“Will I be able to do it?”

“Will I want to do it?”

“Will I be a good fit here?”

Answer these questions honestly and if you’re satisfied, proceed to the next step: prepare your questions for the interviewer. Always think of questions beforehand; not having any will make you look unprepared. Do practice interviews with friends. Finally, dress appropriately for the job. A candidate for a start-up is preferably not decked out in Hugo Boss, and a candidate for a fashion magazine should think twice before donning stone-washed jeans.

Top tip: Always dress better than your interviewer.

  1. During:

Arrive exactly ten minutes before your interview begins. Showing up too early will give you ample time to induce a panic attack, and arriving too late: self-explanatory. Establish eye-contact and confidence with a firm handshake. Most importantly, when you are asked the question, “Tell me about yourself,” answer in a way that connects your past experience with this job.  Leave personality quirks and accomplishments out of it – the interviewer has already read your resume. At the close, ask about a timeframe for response, and restate your interests in the company.

  1. After: 

Send a thank you note. Employers like them both emailed and handwritten. A thank you note will distinguish you from candidates who did not take the time for this small, yet meaningful gesture. Include an excerpt from the interview in the note to further personalize it.

  1. Follow-up:

Once you have established a timeframe for response, follow up on your application after the timeframe draws to a close. Nobody likes to be left hanging, least of all someone who really needs an internship. However, avoid being excessively persistent.

  1. Let your references know:

You have the responsibility of making sure the references you listed are not put on the spot. Let them know a potential employer may be calling them about your application. It’s simple courtesy to warn someone they will have to talk you up and back up your resume sometime soon.

Keep these carefully curated tips in mind and Career Services promises that you will have an edge over other candidates. Thank them later and happy hunting.

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