In this day and age, it’s almost unfair that most entry-level jobs seem to look for previous job experience. Like, isn’t that why it’s called entry-level, anyway?! One solution to this is bagging several internships while you’re in college. But even then, it’s a competitive world as it is.
If you’ve been trying and trying, sending your resume out there, yet still haven’t gotten a callback, you’re probably making these internship mistakes! Here’s how to fix ’em.
One of the biggest internship mistakes? Your resume is disorganized
Plain and simple, your resume might just look unappealing or messy at first glance. Put in time and effort into your resume—think of it like hyping yourself up! Make sure it’s got all the important information and is easily understood. Beware of typos and grammatical errors, too.
Moreover, you want to tailor your resume for each position you’re applying to. Whatever job description, summary, or keywords you’ve got need to look relevant to that particular role.
You don’t have the right skills or experience, yet
Okay, fine, maybe you’re trying out for an internship because, as of the moment, you have zero experience. But there’s a way to write a resume and sell yourself despite having next to nothing to show. Include skills you’re confident in. How about projects you’ve spearheaded or participated in? Any extra-curricular activities?
But what do you do if your resume is empty, though? If you really don’t have anything, spend a year or two joining organizations and workshops, volunteering, and amping up your profile before you apply again for internships.
The cover letter you sent in your application was impersonal or generic
Sure, the application process may seem daunting. But you do have to take it seriously. When you send in your resume to a company, they usually expect a cover letter as well. This letter normally answers the questions: Who are you? Why do you want to intern here as opposed to anywhere else?
You wouldn’t want to receive a lukewarm email, would you? So don’t give your future prospective internship one either. Talk about yourself, your interests, and what draws you to the company. How do these all align? Make it relevant to your internship role in this company. And address the hiring officer directly—if you can find their name, even better.
It might be your social media profile
Yep, employers check out your accounts these days. We’re not saying go private or delete all the things. Just be careful of what you post. Be yourself—sometimes an authentic and unique profile might even get you an offer. And especially don’t go on a ramble about work stuff. HR won’t like to see that.
Don’t limit yourself to particular internships or industries
It doesn’t do to be one-track minded in your internship search. Explore any and all options. Apply to as many positions as possible—raise your chances. Look into industries or openings that are a little different from your course. That way, you get to learn valuable skills and practices for your future career path that they wouldn’t otherwise teach you in school. But of course, don’t apply where you wouldn’t want to work.
Need help? Check out our Ultimate Guide to On-the-Job Training (OJT) to get you started.
Online internship applications and portals are only half the battle
Get yourself out there. Like literally get yourself out of your house or your school and meet people. Maybe you’ve got a tito or tita who runs a business you can help out in. Perhaps you’ve got upperclassmen or fellow orgmates who know where to apply for internships as well.
You’ll never know—it’s your friend, neighbor, relative, family friend, professor, or whomever that might present the best chances or opportunities. It won’t hurt to ask around!
Neglecting basic professional etiquette
If you need to reschedule a job interview, for example, let your hiring officer know in advance. Be respectful of everyone you meet—whether personally or virtually—throughout your internship application process. Dress in business attire. Arrive on time, or even 15 minutes early. Send follow-up emails, but kindly. There’s also such a thing as post-interview etiquette. Always send a personal thank you note to your interviewer via email after the fact.
Treat the internship application process like you’re already looking for a full-time job. Take it seriously. Sometimes it’s harder to find internships than entry-level jobs. Need more tips on staying afloat on the internship race? Check out our Job Hunting section on the Edukasyon.ph blog!