Entering the job market can be scary. It’s even scarier when employers require several years of work experience and you’ve only just graduated college. The good news is that internships can help bridge that gap in increasingly-competitive fields like science, technology, and business. With a mix of technical experiences, a solid network, and a considered plan, snagging that dream internship should be a little bit easier!
Use your Network In a survey conducted by Business Insider, 91% of students pinpointed connections as the single most relevant factor in finding an internship. So flex those connections! Don’t be afraid to reach out to your parents’ friends and colleagues, the professor you had macroeconomics with freshman year, or the alumni whose role you really admire. Many colleges even have professional networking groups and clubs dedicated solely to securing that dream internship. Cast your net far and wide, and you will reap the benefits.
Most internships look for past interests and experiences, and STEM internships are no different. The good news is that experience comes in many forms! Interested in Tech? Talk about personal programming projects, the computer science class you aced, or the Coding Club you started! Also highlight your transferable skills— most internships expect strong organizational and communication skills.
Generally, STEM internships begin their summer internship recruitment process in the spring, but can begin as early as November. Employers receive hundreds, if not thousands, of applications for the same positions so make sure to give yourself plenty of time to write an engaging application and wow those recruiters!
Yes, you should absolutely, one-hundred-percent do everything in your power to get that NASA, Apple, or Goldman Sachs interview. But also pursue other opportunities! Every major company needs people with STEM backgrounds to carry out daily operations. Reach out to companies that may seem a little unexpected, like your favorite nonprofit or that new video-streaming platform everyone’s talking about!
Know your Audience
Congratulations! You got the interview at the company of your dreams— now what? Interviewers love to know you are interested in their company. Go through the company’s social media and familiarize yourself with both brand tone and recent projects or product launches. Understanding company ‘character’ and recent accomplishments can inform the way you carry yourself and provides great talking points. Also research your interviewer’s professional background. This can help you tailor questions and create a much more dynamic and engaging interview process. Leave no (research) stone unturned!