How to Look for an Internship (or First Job)

You may be looking for an internship, your first job after college, or maybe you are thinking of changing jobs for more pay, more opportunities, or due to relocation. A few tips can help make this challenge a bit easier.

REVAMP YOUR RESUME

The first place to start is reviewing and updating your resume.  Your resume should be just one page and free of grammar errors. Resume styles change, so in addition to content, the format you use can help make you more competitive. Let’s organize your resume first.

You can create an account on Indeed which gives you access to resume templates. The current format is 1) header; 2) objective; 3) skills; 4) experience; and, 5) education.  These five areas will fill one page. Your header is your name and contact information, below which is your objective. This is a short statement of the position you seek, such as “Hard-working and detail-oriented scientist with master’s degree in forensic science seeking a position in a forensic laboratory or other investigative agency. Committed to applying advanced scientific knowledge to support law enforcement.”. Your next major section should be a bulleted list of your most marketable skills. List three to five of your skills as they relate to the position you seek. Tip: list skills related to the position you want.  Search the internet for a job description for the type position you want to be considered for. What skills are included in the job description? You likely have those skills but may not have listed them as clearly as you could, or perhaps you identified other skills you thought would be of higher interest. Retool your resume to specifically match the skills that will make you the best candidate for the job.

The Experience section is organized with the most recent position held.  This could be a job, or it could be an internship. Be sure to include the inclusive (start and end) dates for the position held. Both paid positions and internships earn you experience, so list both. Usually an internship is competitive and requires an application, a resume, and an interview, just like a paid position. Be sure to check out the Resource Directory on our website for where you might find internships.

Under the Education section, you are listing post-high school education with your most recently attended school listed first.  Be sure to list the completion date of any degrees or trainings you are including. You can look deeper into your coursework to pull out marketable skills for the position you want to be considered for. Your technical skills will land you the interview because it minimally qualifies you to be considered. This means the Skills section of your resume is what initially captures interest and therefore arguably the most important.

Indeed.com also provides a free instant resume review service which you can request once your resume is uploaded.  The service looks for grammar errors, provides organization recommendations, and assesses any weaknesses.

YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE

LinkedIn has grown to be a powerful tool for job searches and connections. Please don’t underestimate this option! The first impression of you will be your photo. You need a professional photo taken recently so you present well. A family friend may be able to help. A local photography studio is another option, including JC Penney where you can get a digital portfolio for about $100. And search the internet for coupons before you go! Tip: List your LinkedIn profile web address on your resume as part of your header.

Your profile on LinkedIn works like an instagram profile. You complete portions such as: About, Experience, Education, and Skills. You can follow businesses to receive alerts on job postings. LinkedIn’s Premium option shows how your skills apply toward a job that’s posted. For example, how relevant is the job compared to your skills, what jobs would consider you to be a top applicant, the experience of other applicants, how many applied to the position, and how big the company has grown. When you see a job that interests you, you can connect directly with the contact at the company to set up an interview. Once your profile is updated, LinkedIn can use it to build you a new resume, too.

PREPARING FOR THE INTERVIEW

We often find it difficult to talk about ourselves. You’ll have to conquer that notion before the interview. Have answers ready for the questions you anticipate. Indeed.com offers this Youtube resource for the questions you will likely be asked. Often, the last question is, “Is there anything you’d like to share that we haven’t already covered?” Here’s what you need to be prepared to do: talk about your best qualities! Employers want to know how you will add value to the workplace. Talk about your work ethic, your ability to stay on a task no matter how difficult, your ability to work independently and deliver results on time. When citing your qualities, be prepared to give examples. If you are prepared for this question, you will leave a lasting impression.

Speaking of lasting impressions, if the interview is offered in person, be sure to shake the hands and look into the eyes of those doing the interview before you get started and after you finish. Again, you will be making a lasting impression. A heartfelt thank you does the same. After you leave the interview, send a handwritten note if possible, or at the very least, an email to the interviewers thanking them for the opportunity.

SUMMARIZING

Applying for an internship or a job is stressful, but remember: you can only do your best. Just do it with confidence and follow these recommended steps.  You will be delighted with the outcome!