Landing an Internship

Landing an internship is possibly one of the most stressful things in college.

You can do everything right:

  • Get the grades
  • Be involved
  • Have a great interview

And yet, still not get the internship. Although it may seem like the end of the world, there's still time to have a plan before summer!

Here's where I step in. Advice about finding an internship may seem cliche, but here is my best advice from personal experience.

  1. It's all about the resume

Focusing on the content on your resume is the first step to building a great resume. Hint: if you can't speak for 5-10 minutes about an activity, don't put it on your resume.

Just as important as the content is the layout of the resume. Try and step away from the normal Resume layout, even if it just a little bit, like mine:

resumeFor those of you who are very creative or tech savvy, or going to work in creative fields, the more creative the better!

These are some of my favorite resumes!

2.  Apply somewhere unknown!

We all tend to only apply to places we have heard of (which is what everyone else is doing making it more competitive).

Don't be afraid to look at companies and positions you have never heard of. Research the position and company and then apply! Who knows? It might turn out to be exactly what you are looking for!

3.  Apply in a non-traditional way.

Although everyone may be applying through the career services office, that doesn't mean you can't send an email to a company that is not coming to IU. If the worst that can happen is that they will say they are not hiring interns, I think it's worth a shot.

4.  Prepare!

Research is key to writing a great cover letter, and landing the initial interview with the company. After you get the interview the research isn't over. Make sure to know the basics about the company before, otherwise they will know.

Practicing interview questions is key. Although it may not seem very important, just practicing your 'elevator' speech can be the difference between getting the internship or not.

Practicing top interview questions is also a great way to prepare. Remember to use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result), in order to tell a clear and concise story.

5.  Don't be afraid to work for free.

Experience is key to getting that job after graduation. If you don't land that dream internship, don't panic. Find a local company and see if you can help them out for free in doing something related to what you want to be doing for your long term career. Although it may not be ideal, getting any experience is better than none, and you can really make a difference to that small company.

Internship searching can be stressful, but I believe these tips can help you to end up where you want to be!

If you have any questions about my experience, or want advice don't hesitate to email me at kmerkhof@indiana.edu

About The Author
Katie MerkhoferAssistant Brand Manager

2016 update: I'm back!!

Why am I here? I stumbled across my old blog and thought - maybe there are others out there looking for some unfiltered professional advice. I am here to help! I will give you updates on life in the working world and how to handle life's challenges in the professional world. 

***Wow time really changes things doesn't it? I kept my former bio before as a reminder to always channel my inner student.

Former Bio from 2012:

My name is Katie Merkhofer and I am a senior at Indiana University Bloomington. I am currently perusing a major in marketing and a minor in German. I'm just your ordinary 21 year old from Cary, Illinois.

Although I spend most of my time in class, or doing class work, I am also the vice president of corporate relations and career development in the American Marketing Association Indiana University Chapter (IU AMA), in the marketing committee for the Kelley Retail Association (KRA), and I tutor for a finance course (Bus-F370).

One of my biggest passions is running. I have completed 6 half marathons! My favorite race was the Rock n' Roll half marathon in Las Vegas on my 21st birthday!

I can't wait to share my experiences at IU with you!

***Updates: I am now 25 and working in Brand Management living in Columbus,OH. I graduated in May 2013 with degrees in Marketing and International Business. I now spend most of my time at work, running or with my dog. I have now completed 12 half marathons and 2 full marathons!