It’s never to early to start preparing for the next round of internship applications. Many internships are secured through networking so always being ready to present the best version of yourself can open up doors for you. Here I’m going to give you a few tips to start you on the way to branding yourself. Career centers are always an option if they are offered on your campus. By getting started on these things, you can have something to review with them during your meeting.
Know your skills
Think about what you want to do and where you want to get. Then, draw up a list of things that you do that relate. Next, think of what else you want to do or need to do to get to your goals. Being realistic with yourself can help you draw up an accurate plan for yourself. Don’t feel bad if you are at square one and you want to see yourself at step 43. Even those at step 43 had to start somewhere. Make sure to give yourself credit for everything that you currently do. We need to take time to be proud of ourselves even when we’re starting.
These are my favorite things. Being able to place your calling card (literally) into someone’s hands is a great feeling. It also shows that you have put thought into communication and networking with others. My main tip is to always get other people’s opinions on your designs before you print them or order them. If you don’t have money to order them, many printing places can print out your design on card stock and then you can cut them out yourself. The main thing here is to remember to cut them out with sharp scissors and keep all angles perpendicular. You want to look professional so take care. If you put effort in, then it will show but the opposite is true as well.
Pick the minds of people around you
Professors have done it. Professionals have too. Use them as a resource of knowledge. Picking their minds and get answers to your questions. There is no better advice than that from someone who’s lived what you want. Invite the person to a coffee shop or ask if you can meet them when they are not busy. Write a list of questions before you meet up with them and write down their answers during the meeting. Writing down their answers shows that you are invested in their conversation and that you want to remember all the things mentioned in the conversation. It also shows that you respect the time they are giving you. Remember to thank them afterwards.
Work on your 30-second pitch
This is the literal elevator talk. Keeping it short will show you know how to communicate succesfully and be concise. You also don’t want to lose their attention so not much than 30 seconds for your initial pitch. Know exactly what you offer and how you want to present yourself. Taking time before hand will give you a smooth finish to your actual interactions. You don’t want to sound rehearsed but you should know what things you want to hit and you can tailor the pitch to exactly who you are talking to. If the conversation continues, then you can add more to it because you know this individual is still listening.
Have a resume on hand
Always! It is always a good idea to have at least one hard copy of your resume on you because you don’t know who you are going to meet and you want to be prepared. If this is not an option, having business cards nearby to give to people of interest so you are remembered when they get your email with resume. Also, it just makes you look professional when you can trade business cards with a person. You’ve obviously put effort into yourself and thought about what you offer. Sometimes even having a portfolio of your work is good or having a link to your online portfolio is an equally good idea. Make sure the site is free from any personal conversations though.
Dress the part
If you think there is even a remote chance of being seen by someone who you may want to make a good impression on, dress cleanly. No stains, rips or discolorations (unless they are intentional). When you whip out your resume, you want them to remember you as a put together and prepared young adult not a sloppy student.
I hope this helps and if you have any other tips that you use to land internships or make good impressions, drop them in the comments!