Internship Series: How To Get An Internship

Welcome to the second installment of the UW-Green Bay English Department‘s Internship Series! In our previous installment of the Internship Series, we discussed why internships are so important. Now that you’re well-versed in all the ways that an internship can be beneficial, the next step is to figure out how exactly to get an internship.

Step One: Finding An Internship

Before you can even start the process of applying for an internship, you have to first find internships that you actually want to apply for.

There are several websites out there that are dedicated to searching for both internships and jobs: Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, LinkedIn, and there’s even a website called Internships.com. UW-Green Bay students can use Handshake to find opportunities. If you know exactly what company/business you want to work for, you should try to go directly to their website and see if any internships positions are available. Also, UW-Green Bay’s Career Services provides many useful resources!

When searching for internships, here’s a handful of things you should keep in mind:

  • Type. The biggest deciding factor when looking at internships is the type of an internship that it is. Are you looking to get experience in copywriting? Editing? Marketing? Event planning? Social media? It’s a good idea to write down the exact career paths you want to look into, and search for internships with those keywords.
  • Time Period / Hours. Are you looking for a full-time internship during the summer or a part-time one during the school year? Do you want it to be only a semester-long or last the whole year? It’s important to look at your own schedule and know how much time you will be able to dedicate to an internship. Some internships might require less 10 hours a week, while others might require you to work full-time.
  • Location. If you live on-campus during the school year, it’s essential that you look for internships that are either on-campus or near the Green Bay area so that your commute is practical. During breaks, it might be easier to get an internship near your hometown, or you could even look at internships in far-away cities or different states! There is also the option of getting an internship that only requires you to work remotely if that’s more your style.
  • Paid or Unpaid. Here’s the thing about internships: some are paid, while others are not. It’s a completely personal decision on your part on whether or not this makes a difference to you.

Step Two: Applying For An Internship

Create a Resume & Cover Letter

At this point, some students might lose motivation to apply for internships: creating (or updating) a resume and cover letter does not seem like a fun task for most. But it’s not impossible!

  • Find A Template. Luckily, there are hundreds of fantastic templates out there that not only help you create a good-looking resume, but guide you in what to put on your resume as well. I used Canva to create my current resume, and this free program made it easy to create an aesthetically-pleasing resume. You can also find tons of templates on Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
  • For Your Resume: Focus on your strengths. If you don’t have much work experience yet, it’s important to emphasize your skills, education, and coursework. If you want, you can also choose to add references, a.k.a. people you’ve worked with in the past who would be willing to vouch for you. For more resume tips and tricks, check out this article on creating a professional resume.
  • For Your Cover Letter: I think of a cover letter as the “long” version of my resume since you should be expanding on different areas of your resume. Your target audience is also a very important thing to keep in mind when writing your cover letter. You want to make sure your cover letter is crafted for that specific internship. For example, if you are applying for a social media internship, you should emphasize any previous social media experience and express your thoughts regarding social media. Need more guidance? This article on how to write a cover letter is packed with great information!

Follow the Instructions 

Once you’ve made your incredible resume and cover letter, make sure you know what to do with them. How does the employer want the resume and cover letter – submitted through LinkedIn? Emailed? It’s also important to note when your internship application is due by.

In the Meantime… 

  • Create an account on LinkedIn. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account yet, here’s your sign to make one!
  • Create ‘professional’ social media accounts. This is completely optional and may depend on what kind of career you want to pursue, but ‘professional’ Twitter, Instagram, Facebook accounts are becoming increasingly more common. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out this article.

Step Three: Interviewing For An Internship

Obtaining an interview is an achievement in itself, so you should be proud of yourself for getting this far. However, interviews can be a bit nerve-wracking, but luckily there are steps that you can take in order to feel prepared:

  • Research! It’s important to know about the company or business that you want to work for, which means learning about their history, mission, and anything else you find relevant. Taking a look at news articles about them (if applicable), their website, and social media will also give you a better sense of who they are and what to expect.
  • Be prepared for common questions. There are some questions that one can expect to be asked at an interview, and this article goes over 31 common interview questions.
  • Put your best foot forward. Even though you might be super nervous during the interviewing process, you have to try to relax and be your best self. This means staying positive and upbeat in your responses and keeping a smile on your face, even if you feel tense and anxious.

Some Advice, One English Major to Another

I have gotten several internships throughout college, and I think my biggest piece of advice to those who want an internship is that you should just keep applying. Even if an internship seems completely unattainable, you might be surprised. Don’t let yourself be intimidated since it doesn’t hurt to at least try.

It’s also important to remember that even if you don’t get the internship you applied for, you shouldn’t give up! It’s easy to get discouraged, but there are other internships out there and one of them will work out for you if you continue to put in the time and effort.

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