February is the month when you start thinking about where to do your internship or get a summer job. So far I did 2 internships and am currently doing my 3rd one. And knowing how difficult it can be sometimes [ or most of the time ] to get one I thought I would share some tips and tricks I picked up from my own experience.
Start searching beforehand
And when I say beforehand, I mean like 2-3 months before. Unfortunately, when you’re a student and not a professional with a history of successful accomplishments in business world, companies won’t be trying to grab you by the hand and drag you to your new shiny working place. The process of searching and creating your CV + cover letters is a chore and takes up to 3 hours per day.
Plus, the companies often take their time answering or not e-mailing back at all. Every time searching for a job I would send out at least 20 cover letters to companies I was interested working with and only a few of them would get back to me.
Never say never. Just do it
I used to be [ and still am, to some degree ] a very insecure person. I would find and bookmark at least 15 internship offers but when going through them again I would eliminate 10 of them just because I felt like there was no way they would be interested in me… Whether you are the perfect candidate or not is not up to you to decide. There are, actually, trained HR mangers who know their job and you should just let them do it.
Do you like the job description? Then go for it! Send in your CV and a cover letter. Or maybe your dream is to do an internship at Nike/Chanel/Google or any other fancy place? Then what is stopping you?! What bad can possibly happen? They won’t blacklist you for you being interested in their company. And even if you don’t hear back, then, at the very least, you got an extra training in cover letter writing! And it may just happen that next time when you try again, they will take you just because you are so persistent = very interested = motivated = a great candidate.
Go to as much job interviews as you possibly can
Again, as a highly insecure and anxious person, job interviews used to be literally my nightmare. But I found a way to deal with it: I try to do as much what scares me as possible. With every job interview I cared less about how people would perceive me and more about what I should tell.
And this applies to everything, the more you talk to people you meet for the first time or speak in public, more composed and confident you feel. Yes, there might be some painful and embarrassing experiences, but remember that you are the only one who keeps dwelling on it. And you cannot have an experience without experiencing, dah.
Ask for help or a piece of advice
Being a student with no or little experience is like being a newborn baby in the world of adults. When it comes to finding an internship or a job, there is nothing shameful in asking your friends or family for a little help. I know how insecure one might feel in this kind of situations. What if you screw up? What if you disappoint both your boss and your friend / the family member?… Try not to worry about that. People who know you won’t recommend you just because. Most of the time, your networking will get you as far as a job interview, the rest is up to you. As an example, I got my current internship thanks to my university teacher who was as nice as to share some of his professional connections. Thanks to him, today I’m doing what I enjoy (blogging, web design, photography, social network management etc). And so far so good!
If you don’t have a network yet and no one e-mails you back, then consider HR consulting agencies that help you look for job placements. Yes, you have to pay for their expertise, but you are at least guaranteed to have one. I did so for my first internship I quite enjoyed. To pay the fee I borrowed some money from my parents, but paid back with my first salary. If you are interested in checking out the one that helped me, click here.
P.S. I wish you the best of luck!