How to Get the Internship You Want (Without it Even Being Advertised)

Aug 22, 2018

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We’ve all been there. You scroll and scroll through endless job websites looking for that perfect internship. You tweak your CV and hone your cover letter only to wait for weeks and never hear a thing. It can be demoralising. But the truth is, your dream role may not even have been advertised at all.

A survey conducted by LinkedIn found that up to 85% of jobs are filled not through online ads, but through networking. And given internships are recruited more even more casually, that figure could be even higher.

With so many candidates waiting for online ads to drop, networking can help you get ahead of the pack. But how can you give yourself the best chance possible? Here are a few tips to network your way into your dream internship.

Do Your Research

As with any job hunt, it pays to do your research. Why not draw up a list of companies that resonate with you? Then explore their websites for any information on potential internships.

Many companies now post internships and work experience opportunities on social media so make sure you’re following all the companies that appeal to you.  

Then, find out who you may be dealing with. Use LinkedIn to look for hiring managers and recruiters and keep a note of their contact info.  You can even use the platform to find previous interns and ask them how they first started at the company.

Use Your Resources

As we’ve already mentioned, LinkedIn is a phenomenal resource for developing professional connections. But have a think about what other resources you may have at your disposal. Friends, family and co-workers may all have useful contacts who could give you an edge.

If you’re still at university, check with your careers advice centre to see if they have any alumni who may be able to help you. Any prior connection will give you a huge advantage over other potential candidates.

Be Bold

Once you’ve explored all possible options, it’s time to be bold and send in your CV and cover letter. If you’ve been thorough with your research, you’ll know exactly who to address your letter to (none of that ‘to whom it may concern’ nonsense).

Use your cover letter to show your desire to intern with that specific company. What is it about them that appeals to you? As you’re not applying for a fixed position, show that you grasp the identity and philosophy of the company.

Most importantly, be yourself. With speculative applications you’re selling your personality as much as your CV so be completely honest. Remember to keep your letter concise too. Under a page is always best.

Be Persistent

Every job hunter in the world faces rejection at some stage. So don’t be discouraged if you hear nothing back. The majority may not be hiring but if they are, you’ve given yourself a crucial head start. Even if they’re not recruiting at this point, you’ve put yourself at the front of the queue for when they do.  

***

Follow these simple steps and you might just slip into your way into your perfect internship. Kiss the thumb twiddling goodbye.

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