By lwilliams There’s really only so much you can learn in a classroom or from a textbook. The only way to really know if your major is what you want to do for a living is to try it out. Enter internships. Internships not only give students a chance to get a foot in the door, practice a passion, or explore an area of curiosity, they’re also the perfect chance to figure out if what you’re studying in college is what you want to do after graduation. So, how do you land the perfect internship? Here are eight tips to get you started. Start searching Let us help do the searching for you. Whether you have an interest in a specific company or have absolutely no idea where to begin, a quick online search is a good place to start. You can access one of the largest collections of internships on the planet right here on Unigo. Search by keyword, major, or location and receive notifications of new internship opportunities by email, Twitter, or mobile alerts. Know the company Take some time to look up the company website and LinkedIn profile. Having some background knowledge of the organization and its mission will show that you’re motivated. It will also help you get a feel for the working environment. Is the company a big-wig financial institution? Probably best not to send your cover letter starting off with “Hey, Fortune 500!” However, if it’s a small, trendy start-up, by all means keep it casual. In all cases, be respectful and know the level of professionalism that is expected. Coming off as too formal or too casual for the environment can discourage a company from even looking at your resume. Check your online presence Just like you may want to look up potential employers, they will want to look you up, too. Make sure your social media profiles present you in the best way — no drunk photos, crazy parties, or drug use. It’s also a good time to tell you to make sure your email address isn’t a hot mess. [email protected] isn’t going to help you land an internship. Keep it simple and professional. Make a resume While most resumes should feature your employment history, you may not have much to show as a student. And, while you could list your experience as a server or that one time you helped fold clothes at American Eagle during winter break, it’s better to focus on experiences that will relate to the internship responsibilities. For example, did you have a leadership role in a volunteer project? Did you take (and pass) a class related to the job? Did you have an article published in your university’s newspaper? Tell them. Make your resume a targeted list, honing in on skills that will show why you’re the best candidate. Just don’t brag, otherwise you’ll get laughed at like this guy. Be yourself and personalize your message Throwing out answers because it’s what you think the company wants to hear isn’t a good strategy. Think about it. Companies may read hundreds of resumes for an internship position, and hold dozens of interviews. Chances are they’ll see right through the bullshit — and that’s a quick trip out the door. Instead, let your personality shine through. It’s important that you and your employer are a good fit, and you can only know that if you’re being yourself. Also, avoid sending the same exact thing to every internship posting. Try to personalize your cover letter and resume for each company (remember rule #2). Don’t sound desperate (even if you are) Don’t give them a sob story. You may get pity, but you probably won’t get an internship. Instead of showing your desperation, demonstrate your ability and determination. PROOOOOOOOOOOFREAD Nothing gets a resume deleted faster than typos and grammatical errors. You could be a great candidate, but if you don’t know the difference between there, their, and they’re — forget it. PROOFREAD your cover letter and resume. Get a friend or professor to proof for you, too. Don’t rely solely on your handy auto-correct to help you out. If you need an example of why — just ask Cristy whose auto-correct changed her name to Crusty. Relax Once you land that internship, remember that it is just that — an internship. The company isn’t expecting perfection, and they are willing to help you in your journey of learning. Soak up as much knowledge as possible because now is the time to ask questions and learn from your mistakes. And yes, there will be mistakes. What worked for you? Have a success story? A horror story? Share what worked — or what didn’t work — for you when searching for an internship with us on Twitter or in the comment section below.