Looking for an internship can be a very intimidating and frustrating process. With the pandemic, it can be even more stressful. Many students and recent graduates don’t know what to put on their applications, where to look for job postings, and who to talk to. Because of this, I want to share my experience on what I did to land my awesome internship at Envol Strategies and how I was chosen out of 769 applicants!
Search for Internships on a Variety of Credible Job Boards
Look for internships through LinkedIn, Indeed, and your university’s job board! Based on my HR experience, these are the main platforms that employers use when looking to hire students. However, if you’re interested in working for a specific company, follow them and regularly check for updates on their website job board! To save money, some companies only post opportunities on their own career site and not on third-party job boards. Posting via their own career site also target applicants who are genuinely passionate about working at their specific company.
Note: When searching for internships, remember to use different keywords! For example, when I was looking for HR internships, I searched for: HR Intern, Human Resources Intern, Talent Acquisition Intern, Recruitment Intern, People & Culture Intern.
Network, Network, and NETWORK!
I know, I know – many of you might hate the word “networking”. As a student, I completely understand your pain because it can be quite daunting (and sometimes, plain awkward) reaching out to accomplished individuals. However, this business convention is SO important because it will make you more noticeable! Networking allows employers to put a face on a resume and they love it when applicants reach out to ask questions about the position and the company.
A quick tip: Everyone loves to talk about themselves! Make sure you ask lots of questions when networking. Find out people’s experiences, why they love what they do, and what day to day looks like at their business!
Do Your Homework
If you couldn’t tell already, employers LOVE IT when you research their business. This can be what their mission statement is, what their corporate social responsibility is, or simply what services and products they offer. Whether you did your homework or not will show during any interview, so make sure you do this! Not only does this WOW the employer, but it shows them that you care which can put your resume at the top of the list.
Researching a company also gives you the chance to figure out if you want to work there! During my first year of business school, I was determined to start my internship journey at a small business or a start-up because of the many hats you get to wear in those types of environments. Because of this, I knew that working as an HR & Talent Coordinator at Envol Strategies was the perfect opportunity for me. During my internship here, 50% of my time was dedicated to full-cycle recruitment, 45% of the time I was providing support with HR administration and projects, and 5% of the time, I was helping with content creation and resource development.
In fact, when I briefly mentioned to Brianna, the founder and CEO of Envol Strategies, that I am doing a dual specialization in Marketing and Human Resources, she was EXTREMELY supportive. Throughout my time with Envol, she would find new marketing opportunities within the company that I could be a part of! For example, earlier this month, I was able to support Bianca, our Digital Marketing Coordinator, with social media posting on our Facebook and LinkedIn. This was a highlight for me because I was able to learn about social media scheduling platforms!
What to Put on Your Resume
Many students have the resume basics down, but there is one mistake that I’ve noticed in several resumes – the lack of results shown. Many applicants tend to describe what they did, but not what they contributed and what the result was. Anyone can do the job, but did they really make a difference and create an impact? Use action verbs to maximize the impact of your resume! For instance, which phrase sounds better: “I screened resumes and conducted phone interviews.” or “I assisted with hiring 5 new employees by screening 100+ resumes and conducting 25+ phone interviews.”
Brownie points if you can make your resume aesthetically appealing! Employers are often reviewing hundreds of resumes every day, so using a simple, yet modern resume template can help your resume stand out!
As always, remember to double-check your resume! In some positions, it is imperative to be detail-oriented. If employers see errors and inconsistencies in your resume, it may put them off.
What to Put on Your Cover Letter
I’ve noticed that many students don’t put a lot of effort into their cover letters because they don’t think employers read them. This can sometimes be true, but most of the time they do! Your cover letter can be a huge deciding factor as to whether you will be invited in for an interview, or even hired for the position. Cover letters are so important because this is where you can shine! This is where you can share why you’re interested in working for the company, what you can contribute, your qualifications, and how the opportunity can benefit you!
Once You Land a Job Interview
Whether the interview is by phone or in-person, remember to PREPARE! The interviewer will most likely ask you behavioural, technical, and cultural fit questions. A common method that candidates use during interviews is the STAR method. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, & Result, and this method is very effective, as it helps frame your interview answers. Find out more on how you can use the STAR method here! Depending on the position you’re applying for, it would also be beneficial to prepare for job-specific interview questions. For example, if you’re applying for an HR position, a question the interviewer may ask you is: “What would you do if a candidate unexpectedly rejected your job offer?”
As cliché as it sounds, my #1 advice is to just be yourself! One of the main objectives of interviews is seeing whether you’re a good cultural fit for the company. Therefore, interviewers can tell when you’re simply memorizing your answers. Your answers may be excellent, but were you authentic and genuine? Did the interviewer really get to know you? Were they able to build a connection with you? Did they like you or your answers? These are things they will be looking for.
I hope my experience and tips can help you navigate through your internship application process. It can be scary, but you are much more skilled and accomplished than you think! I’ve had my fair share of dealing with Imposter Syndrome, so I know how you feel. If you’ve made it this far into my blog post, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me through my LinkedIn if you want to connect! Good luck!