How to Make Yourself Stand Out From Other Internship Applicants

Thu, Feb 23, 2012

Internship Interview

If you’re thinking about applying for an internship, it’s definitely a great way to gain some experience in the area of your major (or personal professional interest) while gaining some college credit and maybe even a bit of income as well.

However, no one should assume that just because they desire an internship that one is going to be immediately available to them. Due to the current state of the job market and the ever-increasing updates in technology (people from all over the world being able to apply online), internships are becoming more and more of a coveted position to have. You may be volunteering, but it’s still the entryway into a company; one that you may not get otherwise.

Therefore, if you want to stand out from the rest of the internship applicants, the first thing you should do is thoroughly research the company that you want to apply to. There are a lot of hospitals out here; to know a bit about what the one you’re applying to specializes in would be a bonus. A women’s magazine is a pretty broad term; take a few moments to check out the masthead and learn some of the specific names of the sections within the publication. The more details that you provide, the greater note that the company will take of your interest.

Another thing that may cause them to notice you is if you make sure to apply before the application deadline and that you answer all of the questions thoroughly, honestly and professionally, but also in a way that gives them a feel for your personality. One thing that you have to remember is that, thanks to email, companies getting hundreds, if not thousands, of internship applications per semester. There is simply no time to write you back to let you know that you missed a section or forgot to include your phone number. The idea of working for a Fortune 500 company for a few months may excite you, but don’t let it cause you to be careless when applying.
If you’re very clear of your current career goal, such as getting an online criminal justice certificate, when applying to intern at a sheriff’s office or to be a juvenile probation’s officer, make sure to let the company know that working in that field is your desire. It’s one thing to say, “I’ve always wanted to work in a courthouse.” It sends a far deeper message to say, “It’s been my passion to serve my community as a judge.” When you’re clear about your ambitions, it shows a potential employer that you’re focused; that you’re not just looking for something to do for a couple of months, but that you actually are believing that your internship is a stepping stone in your professional future.

And finally, follow directions. One mistake that some people make, in applying to either an internship or a job, is bypassing requested methods for applying in the first place. If the company wants applications to be sent by email, email it. If they would prefer it be mailed, mail it. If they posted the opportunity on Craigslist and there is no other contact information within the text of the listing, use the Craigslist address that was provided. By doing things as they were requested, it’s a good way to let your prospective employers know that you are a good listener and that you pay close attention. Oh, and don’t forget to follow up within about a week to make sure that your application was received and to see if they needed any additional information from you. That shows that you’re courteous and that you have a pretty good handle on communication etiquette. Both of which are huge selling points in landing the internship of your dreams!

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