I’ve seen her on TV, I constantly check her website and I follow her on Twitter. And Monday Feb. 20, Lauren Berger, the Intern Queen, visited my school! The entrepreneur and author of All Work, No Pay discussed how she got 15 internships, how she made the most of them and how they have helped her career. She gave some great advice that I’ll definitely be using in the coming weeks as I apply to internships.
Lauren says internships are unpaid or paid jobs that give you experience in a field which can develop your skills, make you more hireable and give you insight into your future career goals. The job should last 12-15 hrs or 2-3 days a week, and should not be longer than 1 or 2 semesters or 1 summer (8-12 weeks). As an intern, you should not be replacing an employee. This is important – when looking at job descriptions, if the list of responsibilities seems too intense, consider skipping that application. Interns are there to learn.
Apply to at least 10 internships that you actually want, not just what is available. Look up companies you’d be interested in working for, and look for similar companies to apply to. Tailor your resume to each employer to make your best traits stand out (http://www.internqueen.com/blog/2012/02/one-resume-two-resume-three-resume-internship). Make appointments at your Career Center to read over your resume and give you mock interviews.
The cover letter: This should be three paragraphs, extremely customized so the company knows you researched them thoroughly and include buzzwords the company uses to describe itself.
Paragraph 1: Connect the dots “I am a journalism student at the University of Delaware and I applying for the editorial intern position. I live in New York and am available to work from May 24 to August 28.” – they know exactly who you are and when you are available.
Paragraph 2: Talk about your experiences that make you the right person for the job, but don’t be “listy.”
Paragraph 2: Wrap it up, say thank you and that you look forward to hearing from them.
Be futuristic at your internship: The connections you make and the skills you learn can help you in your career for the rest of you life, so think about how your internship now can help you later. Try to make every minute spent in your job a learning experience. When I had downtime at my internship at my local newspaper, The Scarsdale Inquirier, I visited the layout office and asked how I could help. There I learned more about InDesign and layout. Also, tell the people you work with what you want, like your future goals and interests.
Always be networking: Make friends with other interns and meet other people in the office. Ask other employees if you can meet with them briefly to learn about their jobs and ask them for advice. Always collect business cards and make a note on the card about where you met the person, and a few things they like or are interested thing or things that you talked about. Then put those business cards into a database in your computer. (I’ll be posting soon about networking tips!).
After the internship, stay in touch three times per year with a quick note asking how they are, not what they can do for you.
Places to find internships:
Internqueen.com (of course!)