Over the past couple of months I have applied for so many internships I am not sure what all of them are any more. Waiting to hear back from businesses is hard because I want to make sure I have something lined up for the summer before it is too late. I have back-up plans, but no one ever wants to resort to those. Through the process I have learned to:
Apply, apply and apply some more
There are so many people applying for the same internships or jobs as you, so make sure you are applying to many opportunities. It is also important to understand that one résumé and one cover letter might not fit every position. You should tweak them to fit the position every time you apply. You might not be the right fit for a couple of companies, but for one you might be perfect. You will never know unless you try.
Take your time and make sure your résumé and cover letter are the best they can be. Be patient, look it over a few times, and make sure you send the company your absolute best. Employers are weeding through those things as fast as they can and if something on your résumé or cover letter does not look right, you could be the first one to get thrown out of the running. These companies want to make sure they are getting someone who fits what they need too, so it might be a bit of a process. They will get back to you; it just might take them some time. If you are really nervous about it, you could send them a friendly reminder or ask them how the process is going. It is a good way to keep your name fresh in their minds.
When a prospective company contacts you to set up an interview, make sure you are ready. Practice the interview with someone, whether it is a family member or a friend. If you do not have anyone who can help you practice, you can use a tool called InterviewStream, which asks you a series of interview questions and you can video tape yourself. The free link for InterviewStream is https://uwsp.interviewstream.com. Looking up regularly asked interview questions and answering them is another good way to prepare for your interview. Also, know what the job description is and a little bit about the company. It might put you ahead of other candidates. You do not want to walk in and not have any idea of what might be discussed. Make sure you can make yourself stand out from the crowd of others interviewing for the same job.
Career Services is a great place on campus to get help with the whole process of trying to find a job or an internship. Prepare yourself so you can be the one who gets called back for another interview or gets the position. Even if you are not sure whether you want the job, doing the interview will give you more practice and you might find out you actually would really love the position. And whatever you do, after the interview, send the interviewer a thank you note!