Internships - The Process
So, now you've decided you want to get an Internship, let’s discuss the best way to going about getting one. Internships are incredibly popular, and this creates a lot of competition and pressure. However I do have some tips and strategies you can use to make the process more efficient and to reduce the pressure on yourself.
Expectations & Standing Out
Knowing how to stand out within a crowd of applicants is key, and so is the process of managing your expectations.
Whilst I recommend everyone is aspirational and sets themselves high goals, you should also not lose sight of the realistic challenges you will face.
Here are a few key challenges I faced and possible solutions you can use:
Understand who you’re applying for:
Challenge - The bigger and more prestigious the company, the harder it will be to stand out.
Solution - Find a way to add something relevant and extra curricular to your CV to help you stand out. Attending careers fairs and getting to know the representatives from each company is a very helpful way of boosting your chances.
Appreciate how you look on paper:
Challenge - Past grades, prior work experience and extra curricular activities are all the information Hiring Managers have to decide what sort of person you are.
Solution - Show them how interested you are in this field by joining relevant societies and ‘going the extra mile’. For example, if you study computing, create some small open source programs for them to view. If you study marketing or finance, you could write a blog where you analyse particular companies or trends.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket:
Challenge - Applying for only the most prestigious companies could leave you without an internship.
Solution - We all want to work for the best companies, but only applying to one or two internships may leave you disappointed. Apply for a range of options to give you the best possible chance.
Time per application:
Challenge - Each application can take a long time to complete.
Solution - Don’t wait to apply till the deadline is nearly over. Make a list of all the applications you want to complete and set aside an hour each day to work on them. Planning ahead is key.
Challenge - Having a low call back rate with the small amount of applications you've sent out.
Solution - Make sure you’re prepared and schedule enough time so you can apply to at least 30+ places. Combine a high number of applications with a realistic spread of companies and you should see a higher return rate.
Dealing with Rejection:
Challenge - Experiencing consistent rejection from applications that took a lot of effort to complete is tough.
Solution - Everyone completing applications is experiencing rejection, it nothing personal. You have to just keep your head done, find and complete more applications and focus on your studies.
Not Hearing Back:
Challenge - Not hearing back from applications to find out if you've successfully got to the next round or not.
Solution - Generally, if you’ve not heard back within a month of the deadline closing you haven't got through.
The process will vary slightly for each company but often on their website they will outline what their process is.
Below is a list outlining the most common order of events:
- Apply online
- Fill in your details & history
- Write a tailored covering letter
- Complete 3-5 essay style questions
- Online Tests
- Short telephone interview
- Assessment centre day
- Group Tasks
- Individual Tasks
- 1-1 Interviews
Tips & Resources
Keeping a Log of your Applications
Applying to many different internships makes it is harder to keep track of the roles you’ve applied for. I created an excel document to allow me to be able to know what stage all my applications were in.
Here is a image of what the document looks like. You can also click HERE for a free download of it.
Where to get Advice
There are many places and people who you can turn to get advice. Remember to use a range of sources and everyone has different opinions and they may not be what is best for you.
The first place most people will turn. Parents are a good place to start as they know what makes you tick so are able to provide tailored knowledge specifically for you.
There will be a careers office and normally a dedicated ‘Internship’ advisor who you can speak to. Lots of universities also provide services like ‘Mock Interviews’ and ‘CV Review Classes’
Talking things through with people who are in the same situation as you whilst also knowing you well, is good. You can ask the questions you may not want to ask others for the appearance of seeming silly.
There are countless guides/articles and websites dedicated to helping you make the right decision. But you already know this as you are viewing one now.
Here are some links to sites Ive found useful:
Milkround (Internship Positing Site) - https://www.milkround.com
Target Jobs (Internship Positing Site) - https://targetjobs.co.uk/internships
Rate My Placement (Job Positing and Advice Site) - https://www.ratemyplacement.co.uk
Prospects (Internship Positing Site) - https://www.prospects.ac.uk
Times Higher Education (Job Positing and Advice Site) - https://www.timeshighereducation.com
Glassdoor (Anonymous Reviews of Companies & Jobs) - https://www.glassdoor.com/index.htm
AngelList (Startup specific Job Site) - https://angel.co
The Muse (Job Positing and Advice Site) - https://www.themuse.com
Design Intellect (Creative & Advertising Agency Ranking site) - http://www.design-intellect.co.uk/top_50_advertising_marketing_agencies_list.html
The Times (Internship Company Review Listings) - https://www.top100graduateemployers.com
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope it has been informative for you. Please let me know if you have any questions.