Feb 15, 2024 | Post by: Vikki Pachera Comments Off on Landing an Internship

Landing an Internship

It’s time for our annual message about the importance of internships for those in college. While it’s true my undergraduate internship changed the trajectory of my career and my life, as a talent scout, I also see the incredible difference it makes in jump starting someone’s work life.

People spend all this time, energy, and money working on college degrees but far less on differentiating themselves, thinking about their personal brand, and how to stand out in the world. An education is fantastic, table stakes for many roles, but skills are equally important.

Internships offer so much value that simply isn’t classically taught—how to communicate effectively, how to deal with challenging people, how to influence, build skills in your domain, perhaps use lab and prototyping equipment if you are an engineer, and the basics of everyday professional life.

And while it’s great to land an impressive internship at a marque brand, almost all offer value.

I was talking to a healthcare tech executive recently who is hiring an early career generalist for an entry level sales role. He thought someone who worked as a wait staff on the side during school would be a good fit as they probably handled people and communicated well. You can uplevel this and do a hospitality internship. Marriott Guest Relations internships would be a great foundation for any student, learning to deal with all types of people and situations prepares you for the workforce. And, they are in great locations, Maui anyone?

Naturally, an internship in your specific domain, mechanical engineering, software development, Life Sciences, etc. is ideal. Swing big and try to land an AI or Investment Banking gig, you won’t regret that.

There are thousands of positions open, landing one though, isn’t going to be easy.

Like any job search, you need to pound the pavement, pound the keyboard, to unearth the roles, keeping in mind so many small companies might value an intern but haven’t gotten around to posting roles. Just like professional roles, many opportunities are not made public.

Some of my favorites that are open right now include Wildlife Centers and Conservation roles, Marketing and Influencer roles at SEPHORA, a Mechanical Engineering role at a flying car startup, NASA, Environmental Conservation in Cost Rica (yes please!), or a research role in South Africa at Kruger National Park!

Keep organized with a spreadsheet of who you applied to, the response, names, etc.

Cold call startups you are interested in via a LinkedIn message or email (emails are easy to find online) to the CEO or VP indicating you’d love to do an internship or summer job.

Pour energy into it. Gamify the process, set some targets weekly and meet them. That could be X applications a week, something like that to keep pushing yourself.

When you land an interview, take it very seriously, practice, put your very best face forward if it’s a Zoom call, look the part, have ultra professional backdrop/lighting/sound—there are no do overs, you get one shot. Convey to your prospective employer you are serious and really want the role.

Get a coach whether that’s a paid professional, or your prof, or a sibling in the work force to help you polish your written and verbal communications. Your career will benefit from a mentor, someone to bounce ideas off of, it’s never too early to start.

And now is the time to create a professional LinkedIn Bio.

Opportunities rarely land in your lap, most people have to create them through creative, hard work.

Lockdown-era students may have some hurdles to overcome, whether your sports team was sidelined and you couldn’t play, you postponed international travel, your clubs didn’t meet regularly. Now is the time to make up for that. Speaking of that trip abroad, you can probably negotiate an unpaid 2 weeks off in the middle of your summer internship as you get to the offer stage.

Comments are closed.

  • Blog Archives

  • Recent Comments