From the very first Facebook post that led me to applying for an internship, to the very final interview that landed me the internship - I learned so many valuable lessons on how to get that coveted work experience that could catapult you into the “real world”. Since my internship finished in the summer of this year and people are applying for internships left, right and centre; I thought I'd give some tips on how I managed to get one.
My experience: I'm a computer science student who got an internship at a Big 4 company in Audit (aka Accounting). I worked as a pizza delivery driver when I applied, was a peer mentor and volunteered at my church. My average mark in uni was a high distinction.
1. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take
Just apply. Seriously. If you have a low WAM, no work experience, no extracurriculars, or think you wont land the internship, just apply. A 95% chance of rejection is better than a 100% chance because you didn't apply.
Similarly, it doesn't hurt to apply to many internships at once. Worst case scenario - you get rejected but still gain so much more knowledge of how the process works for next time. Best case scenario - you get multiple offers and have the luxury of choosing. After all, every application increases your chances overall.
2. Work, volunteer, do anything that's not academic
Companies want people who are more than just booksmart. They want well rounded people, people who can manage time, communicate and balance multiple things at once. It can be anything:
• A part time job at Maccas (McDonalds for you non Aussies)
• Helping out at a non-profit, at a church, etc.
• Join a band
• Write in a newsletter, be part of a local radio, etc.
• Join a uni club (and take leadership roles!)
They prefer people with these experiences than people who have slaved away and achieved a 99 WAM for the expense of giving up everything. Plus, this gives you an excuse to do something fun or interesting rather than studying all day.
3. Know what you're applying for
This is a no brainer - knowing what you're going to be doing and who for is essential key info. Questions about the company or the role are definitely going to be asked in an interview - might as well prepare an answer now.
Think about it - if you had a business, would you hire someone who didn't even know what they applied for or what your company did?
4. People skills > Technical skills
If you have made it all the way to a phone/video/face-to-face interview and/or assessment centre then your resume stops talking and you start talking. Being friendly, and a likeable person will get you 80% off the way there.
The people hiring you want to know if you'd be a good person to work with. After all would you work with someone who was amazing at their job but was really aggressive or difficult to deal with?
5. It's okay to be rejected
Seriously, it's not the end of the world if you get rejected. There are so many more places you can apply for, and so many more opportunities. Just take this as a lesson, and figure out what you can improve on. Here's a quick list:
• Behavioural questions (e.g. tell me of a time....)
• Online testing (verbal, logical, numerical reasoning)
• Video interviews (it's so much harder than face-to-face)
• Resume tweaking (spelling, grammar, ordering)
• Not being yourself (they can see a fake person a mile away)
By Mark Patricio (who is in no way an expert on this c:)