By Dericka Stinchcomb
Attaining a college degree opens numerous doors of opportunity. However, a degree alone is not enough to make employers hire job seekers. When employers are looking to hire new employees they search for potential employees to be educated and experienced. Nowadays experience is necessary; no ifs, ands, or buts. Within the past decade or so, most entry level jobs have required their prospective employees to have at least two years of experience. While getting hired for an entry level job may seem unattainable for new undergraduate alum, it is actually highly attainable. Often times, students scramble to find a job during their last year of undergraduate studies and panic when they notice work experience requirements. But, what some students may not know is that workforce experience includes internships! Internships can be both paid or unpaid, depending on the company. These types of jobs are professional learning experiences within the workplace. Internships are beneficial because they are made to teach: and if it just so happens to be paid, that is even better. Although some students might have an idea on how to secure an internship, here are some tips.
- Perfect your resume
Your resume is your best friend when it comes to the workplace. It should be a summary of your education, work experience, and any skills that you possess. If you have little to no work experience in your field, you should aim for opportunities to use as resume builders. Resume builders can be small or large opportunities, but you have to get some sort of experience. When perfecting your resume, check for spelling and grammatical errors. Also, make sure that your resume is properly structured and professional.
- Have a cover letter
Cover letters are letters that are about the desired position of a job seeker. When you send your cover letter, it should be addressed to the company you are applying to. Your cover letter should state the position you are seeking and explain how you would be an asset to the company. When writing your cover letter you should not write the exact same thing that is on your resume. You should also be careful when making sure that you shed light on the best experiences and skills.
- Go to career and job fairs
Career fairs happen frequently all over the country. However, North Carolina A&T State University has two career fairs every academic school year; one during the fall and one during the spring. These career fairs give students the opportunity to meet representatives from different companies and learn about the companies from direct sources. Career fairs are also used as an opportunity for networking. While you are at these career fairs, take numbers and business cards; and give yours!
- Dress the part
First impressions are everything. When searching for internships you should be prepared for an interview. Dressing the part is another major key to securing an internship. When meeting with professionals, you should wear a basic pant or skirt suit (for women) in black, navy, or gray. And men should wear a basic single breasted suit in navy or gray. When choosing attire, ensure that your outfit looks very conservative and not distracting in any way.
- Secure the internship
The last and final piece of advice for securing an internship, is to SECURE THE INTERNSHIP! It is vital for job seekers to follow up after any and every encounter with employers. If a representative gives you their business card, you should take time to send them an email or give them a phone call. If a company reaches out to you for an interview, after you attend you should follow up with the company. Any and every situation that you are put in with professionals should receive a follow up from your end!
Securing an internship can be a smooth or rough transition for students. As long as you have everything lined up, the transition should go well. Be organized and prepared for the application and interview process. This process can be frightening; however, with these tips you should be equipped and ready to receive an internship.