College Advice Blog

Aug 25, 2012

Tips for Landing A Dream Internship

Are you nearing the end of your college career but are having doubts about what awaits you in the real world? Do you long to learn more than your textbooks and professors are bringing to the table? If your answers to these questions were "yes," then perhaps it's time to consider pursuing that dream internship you've been eyeing. If you're unsure about how to proceed and have doubts about the whole process, read over some of my tips below. Coming from someone who landed not one, but two, competitive internships during her undergrad career, I know a thing or two about this.
Take the Initiative
My first internship ever was with the number one morning radio show in the nation's 4th largest market—a big deal for me, who, at the time, was just an inexperienced college junior with what I thought was very little to bring to the table. And honestly the opportunity would have never arisen had I not taken the initiative. One day I saw an expired ad for the show saying they were seeking interns, so, although the posting was over 2 months old I reached out to the contact number listed. Figuring they already filled the position, I didn't have high hopes and expected to be turned down, but due to some occurrences, they actually had one unexpected spot, I just needed to come in for an interview.

Well, obviously things worked in my favor because I got the gig, but none of that would have been possible had I never taken that first step. This is something every student needs to realize. The perfect job, internship or career IS out there and companies want to take a chance on you, but the fact of the matter is these opportunities are not handed to you, so you must take the initiative. Additionally, it's important to realize that these prospects are few and far between, so there's no time for hesitation or doubt. Just go for it.
Proceed with CONFIDENCE
Once you take that first step, realize that your work is not done. There are likely rounds of interviews, assessments and screenings you'll have to go through before the internship is yours, so be sure to approach all of these with fervor and confidence. Even if you have to fake it a little, the impression you should be sending to them is that you are reliable, capable and in control. They want to know they are giving the position to someone they can trust and depend on, so be sure to exude confidence. It’s important, however, to not cross the line into cockiness or arrogance, because nobody likes that.
Follow Up
While the rest of your competition sits on their hands waiting to hear back, take the initiative to follow up. Send an email, make a call. You don't even have to make it completely about the status of your application, although they will likely know you have interest in knowing where you stand—hey they were all young interns once too. As long as you do something to make you stand out and show that even though the interview and screening process is complete you know your work is not done.
These tips can work for anyone. Whether you're looking to get into engineering, broadcasting, teaching or something else completely different, these practices will surely get you far and broaden your window of opportunity.
Katheryn Rivas is a regular contributor to Online University. Like the name suggests, focuses on higher education and trends. She welcomes your comments at katherynrivas87atgmaildotcom.


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