Hello everyone! My name is Rubi and I blog over at When Life Gives You Rubi. I guess I would have to call myself a “lifestyle blogger” even though I sometimes feel as if my blog is all over the place, just like my life. I write about being a single twenty something, my love affair with Netflix and what you can expect college life to really be like. PS it’s nothing like those ABC Family shows make it out to be.
When I got the news that Kimberly was being kind enough to let me post on her blog I started racking my brain to try to figure out what you all would enjoy reading. There’s nothing worse than a guest post that has nothing to do with what you are used to finding on a person’s blog. I figured since many of you are either in college or recent college grads, you’d be on the same boat as me with trying to gain some real world work experience.
As I type, I have sixteen days before I hop on a flight and move from California to Washington DC. The past few weeks of my life have been nothing but polishing up my resume, writing too many cover letters to count and awkward phone interviews. With more than enough experience interning to make me qualified to give some advice, I figured nothing would interest you all more than some tips to make this your most productive summer yet!
Since I could ramble on for ages, let’s just jump right into the tips...
1. Finding Internships
The hardest part for me so far has been finding internships to apply for. With my perpetual pickiness being a major drawback, in the beginning of my internship search I had trouble finding positions I was interested in at all. Idealist has been a lifesaver for me! This website so far has been the easiest to navigate, is constantly being updated and has such a wide variety of internships posted on a daily basis.
You can narrow down the search results to what city you would like to work in, field of work you are interested, paying and non paying internships and more! I keep switching between work and internships because Idealist has postings for jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities, so whatever you might need is offered in one easy to use website!
2. Resume Writing
Resume writing has to be one of the hardest parts only because it never really ends. For those of you who are like me, you try to be involved with everything, only to find out that employers want a one page resume. One page!? I can't fit four years worth of relevant work experience into one page no matter the font or margin sizes. Instead of me sitting here giving you step by step tips, I’m going to refer you to my university’s resume writing guide.
It’s one of the best I’ve ever seen and available to everyone, regardless if you attend UC Riverside or not. One final tip though, have someone read over it before you submit. It’s easy to miss simple typos when you’ve been staring at the same piece of paper for so long.
3. Cover Letters
Do not make a generic cover letter to send with all your internship applications! Instead read over the qualifications and required skills that are listed with the internship description and make sure to highlight those aspects in your resume. My general rule is to make sure I mention how the top three bullet points are all skills I have or excel at.
Also make sure to specify when you can start working/interning and that you will be following up with them to check on the progress of your application. These small details let people know you are interested in securing an internship soon.
4. Submitting Your Application
This part of emailing my application to an organization has to be the most nervewracking step for me. I compulsively check my resume and cover letter for typos, try to make my greeting sound professional yet casual, and avoid rambling at all costs. Being a control freak I rewrite the email like six times, but you guys don't have to be like me. Instead follow these simple steps: greet them by Mr./Ms. (last name), state why you are emailing them, list the documents you have attached and always say you are will follow up with them!
Another crucial part is to write a relevant subject line, especially one that includes the name of the position you are applying for and for what time of the year (summer, fall, etc).
5. Following Up
If an organization doesn't get back to you within a day or two, give them a full week to follow up. After that, follow up either by phone or email, even though they may say “no phone calls or emails please.” As long as you are respectful it shouldn’t be a problem and has begun to become expected, even when they state that they will make the effort to contact you. Sometimes they get busy or your email gets buried under others, there’s no harm in checking in.
Quick Final Tips
- Organizations are interviewing and hiring applicants NOW for their summer internships. The sooner you start looking the more open positions there will be.
- Take advantage of your university’s career center. See if they offer resume workshops and networking events.
- Use multiple websites to look for internships. Certain organizations only post on certain websites.
- If you do receive a reply asking for an interview, try to accommodate to their schedule as much as possible. It will show that you are willing to do what is necessary to be considered for the position.
- During phone interviews, have your resume, cover letter and notes on the organization in front of you. It’s a great way to bring up talking points in case you get stuck answering a question.
- For face to face interviews, bring extra copies of your resume. There might be more than one person interviewing you who would appreciate a copy.
- For more tips on how to ace an interview, visit Snag A Job’s YouTube channel, they literally taught me everything I know!
Good luck with finding an internship! If you decide to visit my blog you will be able to keep up with my life as an intern in Washington DC, and just maybe some tips on what to wear once you finally get the job!