Ten tips for nailing an internship or job

Internships are a way for students to gain experience for their careers but some wonder what they need to know in order to land the job.

The Central Michigan University Public Relations Student Society of America hosted an internship fair on Nov. 14 for students to interact with companies across the state.

Here are 10 tips from the professionals:

1. Networking is an important way to land an internship. There are internship fairs throughout the year and opportunities across campus to meet recruiters. If you are able to connect with a company, do it, even if you don’t think you want to work there. Finding a job is all about connections. The relationships you build will get you one step closer to where you want to be.

2. Let your passion shine through. There is nothing more refreshing than an employee that has a desire for what they do.

3. Do your research.

“It helps when we can tell you actually know what we do,” Jessica Hefron from Biggby Coffee said.

Let’s face it, it is embarrassing if you have to ask what a company does in the middle of an interview. Being prepared and knowledgeable about the company will enhance your chances of landing the internship.

4. Be able to sell yourself. The jobs, organizations and projects that you have been a part of are all important and experiences that employers want to hear about. Promoting yourself will show just how qualified you would be for the position.

5. Asking questions shows that you are actively listening and truly interested in the company and position. Have questions prepared when you enter an interview and as opportunities to ask questions arise, don’t be afraid to ask them.

6. “Put your resume into a portfolio or nice folder,” Erin Dougherty from Special Olympics Michigan said. “Your resume is your brand, it’s your selling piece. Please don’t put it in an old beat up folder.”

If you want a company to think of you as a professional, then every detail matters.

7. Tailor your resume to the company you are applying to. This takes a little bit longer than a generic resume but it will pay off. This will prove that you have some of the qualities they are looking for and are capable of the tasks they require.

8. Make sure to follow up. Almost everyone at the PRSSA internship fair gave this advice. If you don’t follow up, they assume you are not interested. Remember that thank you notes never go out of style and companies appreciate the extra attention.

9. Tom Olver from United Way explained how important it is to volunteer. If you’re passionate about a cause, volunteering will make a difference for someone else. Your participation will give you portfolio pieces, knowledge, creativity and friendships.

10. If there isn’t an internship opening, don’t get discouraged. If the company was impressed by you, they may contact you when an opening arises or create a position just for you. The networks you’ve made could also lead you to other jobs. Remember to stay optimistic and motivated and you will find a job or internship that will be worth the wait.