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Internships: How to make yours resume-worthy

This post is a contribution from our friends at Admit.me.

Network

As a current college student, the thought of proactively reaching out to seasoned professionals can be daunting. However, so much of professional success isn’t about your credentials or even your experience – it’s who you know. Comb through the profiles of colleagues on LinkedIn and internal websites to learn more about the people who are already working in your field of interest. Shoot a quick introductory email and ask to meet for coffee or grab lunch (even busy professionals have to eat!). When you get together, don’t blow your opportunity to make a connection. Ask her about her career path and trajectory, her experience working for the company, or advice that she wishes she could give herself when she was first starting out. Always follow up with a quick thank you email and then a handwritten note.

Leave an Impression

Everyone is familiar with the saying about first impressions, but I would argue that impressions are really developed over a sustained period of time. Don’t just be punctual, be early. Stay late. Ask for additional responsibilities once you have completed the tasks assigned to you. Be confident, but coachable. You are, after all, there to learn. And demonstrate these qualities consistently; this becomes the person they will remember.

Show You Have a Good Work Ethic

Put in the work as if your livelihood depended on it – one day it may. Scale back on social commitments to devote more time and energy to work. Sure, there are summer parties, festivals, concerts, and sporting events that you’d probably rather be at, so don’t deprive yourself completely! This may mean working beyond typical or previously-designated work hours a few day a week, but guess what – this is okay. Don’t just work hard without a plan or strategy. Use all of those econ or engineering theory courses to show off your academic horsepower. If the company is struggling with a process or system, try to wrap your arms around the problem to offer a fresh and innovative solution, and don’t be afraid to take calculated risks.

Follow Up

Be sure to get the contact information of several colleagues before leaving. Stay in touch, but make sure that your contact is meaningful, such as:

  • Thank you notes for mentorship or guidance
  • Holiday cards
  • Updates on significant accomplishments, especially if the contact was helpful in your attaining this accomplishment

Once your full-time job search begins, reach out to your contacts if there is a particular job you’ll be going after, or just to reconnect. Again, so much of one’s career is about who you know and not necessarily what you know. That contact just might mean that your resume gets moved to the top of the pile, and that’s a much better view.

Happy interning! 🙂

Savena Wright is an admissions expert for Admit.me, the first online social platform for applicants to connect with current students, alums, and experts and get a free evaluation of their admissions profile. Prior to her work in consulting, she received her master’s from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and her BA in English from The College of New Jersey.

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