During your university years, one of the most valuable experiences you can have is an internship in your field of study. From shadowing a company’s executives to participating in real-world projects, internships can introduce you to key industry professionals, prepare you for the workforce, and even help you determine whether a certain career is right for you!
Of course, you’ll face plenty of competition among other students as you begin applying to internships. Here are a few vital skills that will really help you shine!
No matter what career path you’re considering, the ability to communicate effectively will set you apart from the competition. This starts with a well-written, typo-free cover letter and CV, but it doesn’t end there. In addition to written communication, you should be able to express yourself in person as well. Prepare for your interview ahead of time – not only will this help you shake off some nerves, but it will also allow you to provide thoughtful answers that positively communicate who you are as a potential intern.
Whether your goal is to become an electrical engineer or a museum curator, technical skills are a great asset to your internship application. In the 21st century, it is important to be able to learn new programs and adapt to our increasingly technical world. For example, although I work primarily in business development and public relations, I took a course in Adobe Creative Suite to learn basic design and photo editing techniques. I may never be a graphic designer, but having that background has made me more valuable to my company and more marketable to the workforce as a whole. Showcase any technical skills you have, or take a class to learn some of the basics.
Many internships will require you to multitask and juggle multiple projects at once. Your interviewer will likely ask you about your organisational skills and how you handle yourself under that type of pressure. Organisation plays a huge role in time management, so think about what strategies you use to stay organised and on top of things, and be ready to talk about those when you arrive for your interview. These skills are an important foundation for your success in your career later down the line!
“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!”
As terrifying as networking might sound, it is a necessity in today’s world. Getting to know your professors, classmates, and members of the community can sometimes make the difference between landing the internship of your dreams and receiving another rejection email. Your other skills should still be able to stand on their own, of course, but making the right connections can help get your CV to the top of the pile. When someone that the interviewer trusts can personally vouch for you, it can be that deciding factor that gets you the internship. Get to know people and start forming those connections early. You never know who can help you, or who you can help as well.
What are some important skills for landing your dream internship? Sound off in the comments section below!
Photo: Nana B Agyei / Flickr
Valerie Moses is a marketing and PR professional who lives in Orlando, Florida. When she isn’t with friends or attempting a new healthy recipe, she can be found at her lifestyle and college advice blog, So It Must Be True.