By Kait Spong
The internship application process is beginning to look more daunting than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only are more internship opportunities going remote, but the competition will also be stiffer, now that students and new grads are not limited to applying within their geographical area. Though we may be able to adapt to this new situation, like many others, it never hurts to know just what you’re in for, when it comes to applying to spring internships during the pandemic. After all, these opportunities will differ a bit now than they have in years past. So, without further ado, here are 3 ways that you can help yourself stand out when applying to spring internships!
Create a Personal Website or Online Portfolio.
As young adults growing up in the Digital Age, it has always been important – second nature, even – to possess a solid online presence. Now, social media has become a major factor in how recruiters see us as applicants. In other words, you can bet that whoever is doing the hiring for your dream internship will look to your Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn pages to learn more about who you are as a person. While you’ve probably heard that it’s crucial to keep these personal pages clean of any inappropriate or questionable content, there are other important factors to consider when maintaining your online presence. In addition to polishing up your social media profiles, so that they are more professional, you’ll want to take your digital identity up a notch by investing in a personal website or online portfolio.
A personal website or online portfolio is a great way to illustrate your experience and prior work, as it applies to your desired field. In this online space, you can better showcase your personality, highlight your non-work-related experience (like your thesis or capstone projects, volunteer work, or side hustles, for example), and sell yourself to recruiters as the best pick for the job at hand. Platforms, like SquareSpace or JournoPortfolio, make it easy to create an impressive looking website – thanks to the capabilities of their user-friendly backend software. You can even get super official and purchase your own domain!
Customize Your Resume to the Job.
If you have older friends, then you might be the target of many sage bits of job-hunting wisdom – one of these tidbits being the importance of updating your resume and cover letter each time you apply to a new job posting, so that you can make yourself a more appealing fit to the available role. The last thing you want to do is shoot out the same, recycled resume to numerous companies! Though there’s technically no rule against doing this, you’ll have a much better shot at landing your dream opportunity if you tailor each resume and cover letter to whatever it is that you’re applying to. If you’re planning to intern in tech support, for example, show off your knowledge of specific software or operating systems. Switching it up for something more sales-based? Focus on soft skills, like time management, adaptability, and your penchant for leadership.
With COVID-19 still at-large, the competition for internships will be fiercer than usual; therefore, you must be attuned to what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for in their interns. While you’ll want to mention everything that you accomplished prior to the pandemic, you’ll also want to consider any projects you may have completed over the past nine months or so. Make sure to highlight how you were able to accomplish these tasks – even amid all the pandemic-related challenges – and shine a spotlight on all of the ways that you were resourceful and adaptive. No matter where you’re applying, you can bet that these characteristics will impress any employer!
Follow-Up and Seek Out Feedback!
Some might call following up after an internship interview outdated, but we call it polite and resourceful! Even though applying for an internship isn’t an exact science, we, here at uCribs, find it valuable to send a follow-up email after your internship interview. By doing so, you’ll be able to politely thank the team that took time out of their day to meet up with you, note your immense appreciation for their consideration, and ask for any necessary feedback. Another bonus of reaching out? You’ll be able to make room for improvement in future interviews and job-hunting scenarios. Hey, even if you don’t end up landing the internship, you’ll still have gained some excellent practice from the application process.
After you shoot off that follow-up email to your recruiter or hiring manager, don’t stop there – contact others who may be able to help you fine-tune your internship-hunting approach. Reach out to friends, peers, or professors to review your resume or personal website. Enlist your roomie to help you practice your interviewing skills or hit up your former sorority sister to ask her how she landed that new job at your favorite magazine. Any and all advice is welcomed to make his complicated, yet rewarding, journey an easier pill to swallow. You never know – contacting your Big Sister might result in some promising and unexpected opportunities!
Times are tough, but it doesn’t mean that you need to press the pause button on your professional goals. In fact, now might be the best time to really focus on what is important to you in life, starting with your career aspirations and what you must do to reach them. With COVID-19 still raging on, the job market is more competitive than ever – and this includes internship positions. Don’t worry, though! uCribs has your back with these 3 pieces of advice, which will impress any recruiter or hiring manager you meet and help them see you as the smart and gifted young person we know you truly are!