Madeline Leahy is preparing to graduate from Emmanuel College in may, where she’ll receive a B.A. in business management with a minor in information technology. She currently serve as a captain of the women’s lacrosse team, is a full-time student and works part-time as a marketing assistant at Argopoint, a management-consulting firm. This past summer she held an internship at New England Country Rentals.
By Madeline Leahy
A summer internship has become somewhat mandatory if you want to find a job post-graduation. The competition to secure one of these lucrative positions is fierce. Don’t learn the hard way that’s its hard — start early and do your homework. Finding an internship requires work (maybe as much as when you actually get the internship) but the benefits of attaining one are limitless. Below are are few things I learned before securing my position as a Marketing Assistant at Argopoint, which will hopefully make your life a little less hectic.
1. Leverage existing relationships
With all the competition out there connections are paramount to securing a position, as you may be competing against 100+ other candidates who are all equally qualified. Knowing someone at the business can really differentiate you from the pack. Instead of finding internships and then looking to see if you know someone at the company, leverage your existing connections first. Let your family, professors, and friends know what type of position you are looking for to see if they know of anyone in the field or industry that you could be put in contact with or if anyone they know is hiring.
2. Participate in informational interviews
Be wary of asking for a job on the spot. While you may have reached out to someone with this end goal in mind, asking for a job is a networking no-no. Doing so can make a situation awkward and negate any working relationship that you do have with the person. Instead, focus on their knowledge and insights. Since they work in the field they probably know better than you where to look for a position and who is hiring. It is okay to mention, however, that you are currently looking for an internship. Who knows if things go well they could end up recommending you for a job. At the very least you learned more about how to enter and work in the industry, which puts you a step forward.
3. Be strategic with online applications
We have all tried them… online applications make it quick and simple to apply to several jobs at once. However, keep in mind that its not only easier for you- it’s easier for everyone. Consequentially, there is likely a mass amount of impersonal application submissions and you are only one in the heap. These application systems are sometimes, however, unavoidable. So make yours stand out by customizing it for the positions you’re applying to and reach out separately to the hiring manager. You should research who is in charge by doing a Google search or looking it up on LinkedIn. Find sites that focus on a niche industry or position you’re interested in. Internships.com is a great site focused specifically on internships and has many filters to help you search.
4. Check out your school’s Career Services Department
Seriously, this is a whole department dedicated to finding you a job, and usually it’s sadly under-utilized. On top of resume, interview, and cover letter help, the department usually has valuable connections with businesses looking to hire. As these businesses are looking to hire students from your school, applying to their internships will put you one step ahead of the gang.
The most important thing is to be confident and to be yourself. This will inevitably shine through in the interview and larger application process. If you are a good fit for the company they will see that. At the same time make sure that its obvious that you did your homework and researched the company & industry, prepared for your interview, and spent time on your cover letter. If they can sense your passion for the internship position and see how much effort that you have contributed in applying to the position the interviewer will only be more impressed.
Thanks Madeline for sharing! Leave your own tips in the comments below. You can contact Madeline on Linkedin.