In today’s competitive job market, it is almost essential to have an internship under your belt before you graduate and join the workforce. As anyone with internship experience may tell you, the search for internships can be just as competitive and just as stressful as a full-time job search. If you’re a freshman, the internship search can seem overwhelming and maybe even impossible. However, it’s all but impossible and these tips will help.
Cast a Wide Net
You don’t need to get an internship with a big company in order to get valuable internship experience. Doing an internship with your college or with a small business can be just as valuable. You need to keep in mind that you just completed your freshman year. You shouldn’t be in any rush to get an internship with the company or organization you want to work for full-time. In fact, starting with a smaller scale internship can help you get a larger internship further down the line. It shows you’re resourceful and that you have experience. I actually got an internship during my freshman year. It was with a small social media marketing firm founded by a student of McIntire School of Commerce. His company wasn’t large or well-known. I still learned the same skills that an intern at a larger advertising firm would and having it on my resume has opened up doors to internships with other companies.
Polish Your Resume/CV
As a freshman, anything noteworthy on your resume is going to come from high school or any after-school jobs you held. Your resume isn’t going to be anything special. However, you can make it seem special. Those extracurricular activities and jobs you had in high school did provide you with valuable experience. What responsibilities did you have? How much time and effort did you put into it? Why did you join that activity/work that job? Your answers to these questions are what is going to make your resume stand out.
Like with any other internship or full-time job, a freshman-year internship requires networking. Networking puts a face to a name and a personality to a resume. You can have the most impressive resume in the resume but, if the person reading it doesn’t know who you are as a person, you may as well have no resume. People want to work with someone they know they’ll get along with. In my experience, it wasn’t my resume that got me the internship. The CEO/founder never even looked at my resume. He went to the same community college as me and was going to the McIntire School of Commerce at UVA when I met him at a leadership conference he was speaking at. This was my first semester. Why did he pick me? It’s simple. I talked to him. I told him why I was at NVCC and that my dream school was McIntire. He resonated with my story and my goals and took a chance on me.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Just like with networking, a freshman-year internship also requires social media to help you get it. Some of you are probably familiar with the website, LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social media site that helps connect you to professionals in your field. A LinkedIn not only covers what’s on your resume, it gives a more detailed look into what you’ve been involved in and what you want to be involved with.