Landing an Internship Part 2 (aka Landing a Full-Time Job)

Last year around this time I wrote my first blog about something that was weighing heavily on my mind: Landing an internship.

This year, the time is quickly approaching for interviews, and a slightly different topic has been on my mind: Landing a Full-Time Job.

Using my internship experience from the summer, and the advice I gave about landing an internship I figured I would write a revised blog with new tips on how to land that job or internship. 

This is the advise that stands from my last blog (with revisions to 1-5) and new tips (6-9):

Here's where I step in. Advice about finding an internship or job 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. Think about what you would tell someone when they ask you "what did you do in your internship?" or "What does your role in this club entail?" However you would respond to those questions should be bulleted on your resume, and be speaking points in an interview.

Just as important as the content is the layout of the resume. Try and step away from the normal Resume layout (unless you are going into a specific field such as finance or accounting), 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. In fact, in some fields, such as journalism, it is seen as a good thing if you are taking initiative to reach out to someone. It shows how driven you are. If the worst that can happen is that they will say they are not hiring interns or full-time employees, 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/job or not. Make sure to find someone to ask you the questions and give you a pretend interview, it will really help with making you comfortable and your people skills! You will be way more prepared than just practicing questions by yourself.

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. (applies only to internships)

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.

 6. New: Know the company culture

Before getting through the interview process you should look up the company culture on sites such as or ask people who work at the company. You don't want to end up at a company that works 7am to 7pm if you were only prepared to work 9am to 5pm!! 

Looking at culture before you interview is also key because there is no use in going through the whole process if it is going to waste your time or the companies time.

 7. Choose wisely (more for full-time jobs)

There is no use in interviewing with 50 companies if you don't want to work at any of them! If you don't see yourself working at a company before you even interview with them then don't waste their time. There is someone else out there that really wants that job and you may be taking away their interview slot. Also, you don't want the added stress of preparing for an interview that you don't care about

 8. Don't burn bridges!!!

I cannot stress point enough. Recruiters talk to each other. If you are rude to someone, another company that you really want may find out. Also, you never know who you may need to reach out pr will run into down the road so be kind to everyone at all times! 

  9. Send follow-up emails

After the interview send thank you emails (or handwritten notes). Then be sure to keep in touch no matter what the circumstance.

  • If you get the job/interview and don't accept be sure to be honest as to why you did not accept.
  • If you get the job/interview and accept keep in touch from that time until the time you start and let the company know what you are up to.
  • If you don't get the job/internship then be sure to send an email asking what you could have improved upon. It will help you later!

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

Happy hunting!!

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

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!