Tips to stand out among peers and land your ultimate interview.
By Erica Zazo
Often times, you might find your internship search ending up a lot like “Where’s Waldo.” Standing out in the crowd amongst other candidates when trying to land an internship opportunity is the number one goal. And lets face it—it’s often harder, more time consuming and more stressful than it seems. From endless resume critiques, building an online portfolio and searching for internships day and night, finding and landing an interview for a summer or school-year internship is a lot of work. Here are some tips to make sure that once you find the internship of your dreams, employers pick you out from the crowd for that oh-so-desired interview.
Perfect Your Resume:
Being students, we are all used to hearing things like, “Your resume should look like this!” “Your resume should have that!” And even “Make you resume better by doing this, and that, and this, and that.” It’s a never-ending process to fix, improve and build an impressive resume to blow future employers away and land an interview. That being said, your resume should be a living document. Know that no matter who takes a look at your resume, they are always going to have something to critique. I tend to not take these critiques to heart, but instead, make sure to take their suggestions into consideration. I highly recommend checking out and taking advantage of MSU’s Club 181: CAS Center for Careers and Internships, the Career Services Network’s “Career Passport” resume tips, and even doing research online to find the best suggestions for making an awesome resume. Always be sure to add insightful and analytical information, have a clean layout and try to keep it to one page.
Search High and Low
If you are anything like me, you’ll agree that the internship search is a daunting task. Constantly searching through MySpartanCareer.com, specific company webpages and popular internship sites such as Indeed, SimplyHired and InternMatch takes a lot of work. Unfortunately, that is what you’ll have to do to get the internships you want. The chances of landing one of ten internships you apply for is slim – which is why you will want to apply to as many internships as possible. I know we all have our favorites, but realistically, if you are only applying to your absolute favorite internships, you might only be hurting yourself in the long run. A great way to find out about internships is through social media. Following sources on Facebook and Twitter such as MSU Career Services, MSU CAS Careers 181, PRSSA National, MSU PRSSA and Internships at State are great ways to find postings for internships. There are so many more sources out there, waiting for you to follow them. Don’t get down if you don’t hear back from your number one choice, just keep applying and more opportunities will come in time!
Build an Online Portfolio:
Nothing impresses an employer more than being able to showcase your work in a professional and sophisticated way. Not only do online portfolios make it easy for your potential employer to check out your work, it is also a great way to start developing your personal “brand.” I personally love WordPress.com. It is an easy way to organize and file your work in one place. Some things that I have on my personal website include my resume, journalism stories, PR work, YouTube videos and contact information. You will rarely land an interview without an employer asking looking at some sort of work that you have done first. It will only help having a portfolio of work to back up your creative and professional claims during an interview. This will be the easiest way to stand out from the crowd. Online portfolios may be time consuming to complete, but it’s worth it! Make sure to create your online portfolio as soon as possible, so when you meet with future employers either online, at career fairs or at networking events, you will be able to direct them to your site, and make a strong impression!
By now, we have all probably developed and created an array of social networking sites and skills. Not all of us, however, would be willing to show each of our social sites. Being professional – like we all know – is very important when it comes to social networking. Even if you want to have a personal social sites, such as a personal Twitter or Facebook, that is fine. What is most important though is being able to showcase the social media skills you have. Creating a ‘professional’ social media portfolio that you can show-off before or during your interview will help you to stand out among other candidates. Creating a professional Twitter handle with quality content, starting up a Tumblr blog and creating a LinkedIn account will be your first steps to building a quality social media portfolio. Make sure to post with professionalism, relevance and style. Showing off your interests, uniqueness and talent by using these sites will definitely help when pitching your social-side during your interview. Also if you haven’t checked it out already, think about taking the New Media Drivers License course at MSU (ADV450). It is a great class to learn everything you need to know about the digital and social realm.