Updated: Feb 26
I know we’ve all been there, stressing about what internship to apply for or where to even start in obtaining one. It’s best to be proactive in your search as many applications for the spring and summer positions are currently being accepted. In this article I’m going to provide you with some great tricks and tips on how to secure that desired internship.
Step 1: Preparation
First and foremost, preparation is key. The first step in being prepared is having a straightforward resume that highlights your achievements and accomplishments. (And freshman, don’t be worried if you still have items listed from high school! Most recruiters take your age into consideration and value your commitment to positions held prior to college). Another major factor in preparation is your appearance. I know that may sound a little odd, but you always want to make sure that you are dressed in an appropriate manner, whether that be business professional or business casual. Along with these two steps in preparation, knowing what you want is vital. If you know what type of internship you want and have a direction to go in, it is much easier navigating Handshake, LinkedIn and other job networking platforms that lead to internships. Research is also an integral aspect of preparation and allows you to be exponentially more confident when talking to recruiters and networking at events. It is impressive to show a little background information on the companies that are interviewing you!
Step 2: Research and Networking
Speaking of research to learn about companies, along with this preparation comes networking. Luckily, Virginia Tech has abundant resources to help you get your foot in the door with events such as Business Horizons (in both the fall and spring!), Careers in Science, the Spring Civil Engineering Fair, and so many others. Before attending these events, it is important to do your research! Look at the list of companies that will be attending your career fair and highlight the ones that you are interested in and know are taking interns for your specific major. After doing so, make sure to research each company so you feel confident in talking to any recruiter you may network with. I know that networking can seem like a daunting task, but most recruiters are Hokie alumni and would love to reminisce about their time at Virginia Tech. Once commonalities are established between you and the networker, highlight your interests and how they align with their company. I also recommend connecting with the recruiters you meet with on LinkedIn, and possibly follow up with an email expressing your interest in their programs and internships. On a side note, a lot of companies offer externships which are a great avenue towards getting a summer internship.
Important note! Networking can happen anywhere at all times. Always be talking to your friends and classmates because you never know when an opportunity will arise, simply through word of mouth! Your professors are also incredible resources as many of them have experience in the field that you are interested and may even guide you in the right direction for internships and other opportunities. Don’t hesitate to reach out! There is never any harm in trying.
Step 3: Mock Interviews
After going through the process of researching, networking, attending events, and following through with the companies you talk to, hopefully an invitation for an interview will come your way. For interviews, it is important to feel confident in yourself so the hiring manager sees your interest in the internship. Most interviews nowadays are behavioral and you should answer these questions with the STAR approach. The STAR approach stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. In order to feel comfortable answering these types of questions I highly recommend researching STAR behavioral questions and jotting down a couple of scenarios that fit the top 10-20 questions. I have also found that asking a friend to do a mock interview with you is extremely beneficial so that you can work through the kinks in your answers. Make sure to find someone who won’t be afraid to provide you with constructive criticism! This will help you in the long run.
Step 4: BE CONFIDENT
I know, easier said than done. And, confidence in these skills comes with practice. However, I know that each one of you are strong, tenacious women who can have a meaningful impact in the industry that you choose to go into. Our CWIB women will always be here to provide you with encouragement and support! Work hard and believe in yourself; the rest will come.