How to land college internships

By Irene Starygina

In today’s job market, having a college internship (or three) under your belt can be a big help when you're trying to land a full-time job after graduation. Job boards are brimming with unpaid internships, with companies doing everything they can to cut costs. But don’t scoff at an opportunity just because it doesn’t come with a paycheck. College internships are often the only way to learn skills not covered in the classroom. Plus, your college may even require you to complete at least one internship for school credit as part of your major. So how do you make your cover letter (yes, you need one!) and resume stand out to overburdened assistants? 

1. Keep your resume focused and, seriously, ONE PAGE 

There's nothing more annoying to recruiters than a 3-page resume—especially when the applicant is still in college. Decrease the size of your margins and shrink the font if you have to, but keep your resume to one page! If you are running out of room, consider removing the job experience where you scooped ice cream for a summer when you were fifteen. If you can provide experience (formal job or otherwise), coursework, or interests that relate to the company you are applying to, you're more likely to be noticed. Remember, most recruiters see dozens of resumes a day and typically spend just a few moments glancing over each.

2. Cover letters are a must 

If you’re too tired to tailor a cover letter to a position, you probably don’t want the job that much anyway. I once made the mistake of sending out what I thought was an amazing cover letter to a dozen employers, only changing the vital details. Needles to say, I didn’t get many responses. Instead of hurriedly blasting out emails, spend half an hour on each application. I guarantee you’ll get better results.

3. Follow up

Sending a thank-you note after an interview is a must. It is considered rude not to thank your interviewer for their time the same or following day. Your email should be less than one paragraph, and to the point. 

4. Build your LinkedIn page

It’s a fact: hiring managers Google your name. So why have your Facebook page be the top search result when you can make your honors and awards stand out on LinkedIn? Keep your summary short and to the point. Upload a picture. Do a Gmail import to build your network. Set your Facebook privacy settings to the highest levels so your LinkedIn profile is the first thing that comes up when your name is entered into Google.