This summer I interned at NASA Langley Research Center. I thought it was a dream that a Communication Studies major from small Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia would every have the opportunity intern at a place like NASA. Needless to say, I had the best summer of my life, doing things I never thought I would ever get to do, while also receiving internship credit and learning new things about myself personally and professionally. Because of that, for my article this week I thought I would give some tips on how you too, can land your perfect internship.
- Prepare- Prepare before you start applying for internships. Ask your peers about their internships and find out the good and the bad. Then, search online and do your research on different types of internships (like paid and unpaid) and start making a list of the ones you really want. Have your list include internships that you know you can get and have it range to internships that might be long shots too. Also, pay attention to what the internship duties are, where it is, and how it can help you with your future career.
- Experience- Make sure that you join a club, organization, or get a job, so that you can have leadership experience under your belt. This experience will help you in interviews, make you more qualified, and is always a great addition to your resume. Experience is also good because these are the types of places you can find references to write you letters of recommendation.
- Engage- Once you have done your research and have found your perfect internship, engage with the company, but don’t be a bother or seem desperate. Make your name known to the company and show your interest. Also, pay attention to their mission and start to reflect that in your own life.
- Network- Meet and talk with people that you may never had talk to before. Every person can be the next link to your perfect internship and you may never know it! Also, attend networking events, job fairs, and get to know people while you are there. Introduce yourself to everyone and keep business cards in your wallet or purse just in case. Pay attention to the little things, because the little things count!
- Work Hard- Work hard with everything you do. Whether it is running a 5K or volunteering, this is the type of work ethic that places looking for interns want. They want people who make hard work not just something a person does when they need to do it, but someone who makes it something they do everyday and at everything.
- Study Up- Grades can often come in the way between people and landing their perfect internship. Remember, that your grades aren’t everything, but they sure do mean something. Most companies do not even consider your application depending on your grade point average and most of the best internships seek the best and brightest of students.
- Apply- Apply to the list of internships you made. Do not be afraid to apply for easy and hard internships. Also, apply for a wide range of internships and make sure that when you apply, you apply on time and review your application thoroughly.
- Reflect- Once you get an interview, make sure you know about the internship and company you are about to interview for. Check out their website, review the internship duties, and research their history. Also, identify your strengths, weaknesses, and what you can do for the company not what they can do for you. By reviewing all of these aspects, you will be better prepared for the interview.
- Follow up- After an interview always follow up! This is important because not only is it nice, but it makes them know that you are interested and grateful for the opportunity.