Get the job with an individual application and a shining interview
The internship, something every student will sooner or later stumble upon in his or her professional path. Whether you need the money, a mandatory internship or an internship over the summer for your experience, finding one is not always an easy task.
The goal of this article is to give you some inspiration on how to make a brilliant application for an amazing internship, and how you can shine during your job interview.
Adapt your application to the company
At first, you start off with a kick-ass application. The most important thing here is to go through the company’s website, job posts, about-us-pages, etc. and to absorb as much as you can. Which colours and fonts do they use? How formal or casual is their writing style? How do they describe themselves?
When you could investigate enough about the company, you should soon be able to establish some boundaries on how to approach your application, like starting your cover letter with “To whom it may concern” or rather “Dear team of …”.
This also counts regarding your CV. Some companies are easy to impress with a nice and clean design that you can do in your notebook without needing any design programs or skills. Others will expect a less colourful and playful CV that is highlighting the facts and not much more. If you are looking for inspiration on how to style your CV, a good tip is always to check the designs at Pinterest.
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Be honest about your skills
A scary thing about job posts is that they always include a list of required skills to do the job. This should not shy you away from applying, as you can rest assured that most people that apply for the internship don’t match all points on the list. In fact, if you could do everything on the list, you would be almost over-qualified for this internship and are very likely to get bored when you get the job.
Keep that in mind, but let the company know, too. Turn “I never worked with this program” into “I heard many things about this program and wanted to learn how to do it”. You could even watch some tutorials about some required point on the list to have a clue about it, so you can get more specific when you get invited for an interview. But the most important part: never claim you know something which you can’t. There is no bigger embarrassment in a new job than having exaggerated about what you can do.
It is often a good choice to take a very close look at the company, their product, their marketing or whatever you can see from the outside. Look at everything you can find with the eyes of a student, something that companies often lack themselves. Think about what you like and what you would improve. Show that you can come up with original ideas and that you were giving your application and the company a good thought.
Look at the company, the product, their marketing and think about what you would improve. Make yourself useful before you start the job by impressing your interviewers with a creative thought that they maybe didn’t come up with in the past.
Prepare for the interview
Once your application convinced them to invite you for an interview, it is time to prepare even further. Check the company’s website for “Team”, “About us” or the like. Find out who the people in HR and the department you applied for are and see what information you can find on the internet. The chances are high these people are going to sit face-to-face with you in the interview, and it is best if you knew their names and faces even before you walked into the office for the first time. Also, the company is very likely to Google your name and looking at all your public information on social media before inviting you to an interview, so it is but fair if you come with the same level of preparation.
But of course, there are many other things you could find out about the company: How many people work in your department, how many interns they had before and who these interns are, how satisfied past employees were with the company, and so on. Attending an interview unprepared is like attending it in your sweatpants, so you should do your homework!
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Be interested and ask questions
When you made it through the job interview, there is but one last milestone to overcome. Something that is part of almost every job interview. Towards the interview, they will ask you, whether you have any more questions.
In most cases, interviews make people nervous. You try to be focused and come up with good answers, to appear confident and convince them of your qualities. Now it is your time to ask something, and you should do so!
You went through an entire application-process to demonstrate what you can do for the company, but now comes the most important part: What can the company do for you? Think about what you want to learn and do in an internship and ask questions that can help you find out whether the company is the right fit for you.
Questions you can ask at the end of a job interview:
- Is there any fieldwork in the position or is work only done in the office?
- How does a typical day/week look like in your department?
- Why do you like working in this company?
- What tasks are usually given to interns when they start in your company?
- Are there any specific responsibilities given to interns?
Finding a job or an internship is a struggle for everyone. Don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t work out on the first few tries. It is a mixture of patience, luck and skills that get you the job, and persistence pays off here. The most important thing is to be yourself and apply in a way you feel comfortable and find a company that can give you what you are looking for. Even an unpaid internship can go a long way in bringing you some valuable and rewarding experience. Here’s an article on why you should consider doing unpaid internships. The perfect internship is out there – go get it!
How did you get your last internship?
Are you currently searching and need some more inspiration on how to land it?
Let us know in the comments below!