Below are some tips on how you can successfully land a killer internship. This is based on steps I have taken to land 3 different internships including my internship this summer with PepsiCo
Disclaimer: This blog post is focusing on the not so obvious factors that will help you land a killer internship. I do not mention maintaining a high GPA and being involved with clubs.
Freshman Year: Setting yourself up
One of the most important classes I have taken at Ohio State is Computer Science Engineering 2111 (CSE). This class taught me the basics of Microsoft Excel which is CRUCIAL for any internship. Excel is a skill which is required by nearly every company. If you can master this skill you can start any internship and not only look smart but add value. Make sure you take this course freshman year and learn it to the best of your ability.
Although it is hard to land an internship freshman year it is definitely possible. Utilize all your family members and friends to network. Express interest early on that you want an internship for the summer. Many large companies have internship positions for relatives and family friends of employees. My freshman year I interned at Citigroup Inc. through their “Friends and Family Program”.
In order to land an internship you must be able to nail an interview. QUIC is a practice interview process Fisher offers. By going through this process you will learn how to approach an interview and appropriately market yourself to interviewers.
Sophomore year: Next Steps
Continue to Network
Once you return from your freshman year summer it’s time to pick up where you left off. Continue to reach out to family and friends and express your interest in obtaining an internship.
Go to the fall career fair and get as many interviews as possible. The best way to land a stellar internship is being exceptional at interviews; the only way to improve is to practice. After the fall career fair send your resume to companies on FisherConnect. Companies usually screen sophomore resumes during second semester for candidates in positions they did not fill. These companies screen resumes in their database for key words. One key word I strongly recommend getting in your resume, if you can, is Pivot Table. This catches recruiter’s eyes. You can get you an interview if you have knowledge and practical experience.
Have an Open Mind
Stay positive and be willing to relocate/take a non-paid internship. I was not called for an interview my sophomore year until the week before spring break. This was after the fact that LBrands (sophomore year Internship Company) screened most of the juniors. With a stroke of luck they started screening for sophomore interns.
A great way to get practical experience if you cannot land a paid internship is with nonprofits. These organizations never have enough resources and you can get some serious exposure interning with one.
Junior Year: Landing the Internship
Once you return from sophomore year summer it’s time to start grinding. Set a deadline for when you should accept an internship offer; mine was October 31. I sent out my resume to nearly every company on FisherConnect and I did not stop grinding until I landed my internship.
Practice Practice Practice
Really get after it and do as many interviews as possible. Before I had my PepsiCo interview I had gone through 7 interviews with 6 different companies. After each interview I critiqued myself on what I did wrong and which situational questions I could have answered better. Once you hit five interviews you should be a pro and have the highest level of confidence.
In summary, landing a killer internship is in your hands. You can do it if you stay focused, be persistent and don’t give up.
Good luck and happy interning!