Applying to Internships Like a Boss: A Guide
Last spring, I was frantically applying for every internship I could find — and there were a lot of them. It became an overwhelming process, but after getting the job, I realized it didn’t have to be. Here are some helpful tips for your application process.
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH.
Take the time to find places that you are genuinely interested in. You should view yourself as a valuable asset to a company. Having real interest will make you stand out as a candidate. This will help you narrow down your search so that you don’t end up applying to everything under the sun like I did.
Pay attention to due dates.
Some applications are due much earlier than others; do not assume that they are all the same.
Organize your resume.
You want your resume to highlight your experiences without being overwhelming. The general rule is to keep it to one page.
Try using Adobe InDesign to make your resume. There are plenty of tutorials online to help you learn how to use it, and it will look much more impressive (and probably better organized) than a resume created using a Microsoft Word template. Adobe programs are now free for all Auburn students, so take advantage of this!
Write individual cover letters.
Even if the cover letter is not required, you should submit one if it is an option.
Have different cover letters for each place you apply. A generic cover letter is easy to spot. This is your opportunity to write about specific experiences that make you equipped for the internship or fit for the company. Creating a template that you customize for each application makes this much easier.
This should also be limited to one page. If you do not know who to address the cover letter to, you can contact the company and ask. Another alternative is addressing it to a generic job title (e.g. “Dear Hiring Manager”). You should also include the date, the address and contact information of the company, your own contact information, and a signature.
Have multiple people proofread your resume and cover letter.
When you have been looking over your resume and cover letter for so long, it is easy to miss errors. Having someone else take a look will help you refine them and catch mistakes.
Carefully read all of the application instructions.
Each application requires different materials. You might be asked for a transcript, references, or even a small assignment. Some applications have you apply on a website, while some prefer for you to send an email.
Check with your references before applying.
Even someone who would normally write you a glowing recommendation could be caught off guard with a phone call from a random company about a position you never told them about. You are not only risking getting a poor recommendation, but it is impolite and unprofessional. Don’t assume the company won’t actually call your references.
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.
Although I strongly believe in quality over quantity as far as applications go, you do not want to limit the number of places you apply. I personally think a good range is anywhere from 20–40 applications. You never know what unexpected opportunity may arise!
Are these tips helpful? Share your tips and application experiences with us on social media @AuburnCampusRec.
Good luck in your internship endeavors and as always,
Be well, Auburn.
Photography by Grace H.