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17.6.15

Tips For Getting That Internship

Among the many posts written on getting that dream internship I've yet to come across one that actually gives you tips on how to land it beyond "apply for it when an advertisement pops up." 
The fact is, not everyone will advertise internships even though they offer them and some places don't even give you an indication that they take interns. Especially when it's your dream internship. 
When it comes to interning at a magazine, the process to apply for one is sometimes a little different. I've wanted to intern at a magazine for as long as I can remember and always envied others who scored one. For such a long time, I didn't know how to get one or how anyone else got it. It wasn't until my journalism diploma that I was given tips on how to do it. Applying those tips and being patient, I eventually got one and was so happy

Even if your dream internship doesn't get you that dream job, that experience and the things you'll learn is just as great and will, for sure, help to further your career. You'll know whether you want it or not and your resume will sparkle. But here's the thing, how do you get that internship? It could be at a magazine or a large PR firm, whatever your dream internship is, there are a few things that can help you land it. 

1. Polish your resume to absolute perfection. 
Spend an entire day making sure your resume is the best representation of you as it can be. Tailor your resume to suit the business you're applying to. In your summary section where you talk about your career goals and what-not, make sure you talk a little bit about what you want out of your career, making sure it lines up with the business. If it's a role in PR you want, mention your love for public relations and how you've wanted it since you were 2 years old. For a magazine internship, mention how you've always seen yourself in that industry and how your qualifications have prepared you for that role. Tell them exactly why you are perfect and why you want it. 
On that note, it's always a good idea to mention relevant experience and relevant qualifications you've completed. Your resume basically, needs to sell you. In one page.

2. Research the company you want to intern for.
I mean, if it's your dream internship you probably already follow everything they do. It's a good idea to make sure you are no stranger to their ways. This shows that you are passionate, interested and care for the company.

3. E-mail them. 
Even if there is nothing on their website or publication that states they take interns try anyway. What have you got to lose? Remember, not everyone will advertise. If you really want to intern for them, and they don't mention anything about interns, apply like there was an advertisement in the first place. Your email should start off with an introduction about yourself. Keep it brief and relevant mentioning your name, what you do and latest qualification. Tell them you've always been passionate and that you are very interested in interning for their company (insert company name here.) 
Keep it professional and only a few sentences short. Attach your resume to the bottom and finish your email by saying thank you and you look forward to discussing it further. 
Basically, my rule of thumb is to write the email as if you are writing a mini cover letter for a job advertisement. If you know who the email is going to, address them directly but if you don't use the safe, 'To whom it may concern' or 'Dear __ team.' 
When writing the subject line, just keep it simple and obvious mentioning the word internship or work experience. 

4. Follow it up.
Your dream business is likely to be a very busy one and the person in charge will likely have no time at catch up on emails. That's fair enough. Sometimes your email may get lost or ignored. If it has been a week or two without a reply send a follow-up email. This one can be shorter than your first and should simply state that you are following up on your previous email. Write this email as if the receiving person has already read your first email but was too busy to reply. Acknowledge your first email and re-attach your resume. This shows that you are serious about this internship and that you won't give up easily. It will also help the receiving person to remember you. But, don't be annoying. It's very easy to panic and want to send a new email every few days when you don't get a response. All you need to remember is that they are busy and to respect their time. Give it a week or two between emails so you don't annoy them. You won't get an internship you drive them crazy. Trust your instinct and keep calm. 

If you're applying for an advertised internship, make sure your resume is the best it can be and your cover letter sells your best abilities. But, you can still apply for an internship even when they stop advertising. The worst that will happen is that they just won't ever reply. This could be because they don't do internships or because they were too busy. If that happens, simply stop emailing them for a good month or 3 and then send through a fresh email starting from the beginning. Sometimes just going away and coming back shows them how committed you are. 
Never give up and don't be disheartened. Sometimes it will take a long time before you get anything, and that's okay. There are thousands of people and only one internship. 




Photo by Sheree Grace

- Sheree

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