March Madness is here. The University of Maryland Baltimore County and University at Buffalo have busted everyone’s brackets, but I’m not talking about the frenzy, excitement and chase for the NCAA Championship. I’m talking about the frenzied, worried and anxious college students trying to get plans in order for the summer. March Madness internship style.
Maybe you have been a little distracted with college basketball and spring break plans, but it’s time to focus on the future for a moment. Many companies are in the midst of interviewing candidates to fill their summer internship openings. While some companies are all done, there are still many internship opportunities to be found, and they are looking for you.
Develop a Game Plan
Everytime there is a new opponent, coaches draw up a new game plan. The game plan is your road map to victory. To develop an effective game plan or strategy, coaches scout out the best players on the other team, define the team strengths and weaknesses of the opponents while also understanding the stregth and weaknsses of thier own team, and determine what style of defense and offense will be most effective.
Well, what are your strengths and weaknesses? What do you want to learn at an internship? Are you only looking for an internship close to home or are you able to spend the summer in a different city? Are you doing an internship for academic credit? Are you looking for an internship in your major or trying to learn something new? Answer these questions up front, and your internship search will be more focused. My free guide, The Internship Manual Toolkit, walks you through the steps of getting an internship game plan together.
Practice Makes Perfect
Just like every team in the tourny has been practicing for months to make it to the big dance, you need to start practice too. A long, long time ago when I played ball, my coach would often say, “you play how you practice”. What type of practice is involved in looking for an internship though right? Well, your interview for starters.
Many career services offices offer mock interviews as a way to give you the chance to do an interview without any pressure. Generally, at the conclusion of your mock interview you will get feedback on how you did and what to improve. This is something you need to jump on. Even if you’ve had an interview before, never hurts to get feedback and continue to improve on your interview skills.
Know What’s in the Playbook
Each player gets a playbook that contains all of the plays the team runs regularly. You need to put together your playbook and study it. Your playbook has your resume and cover letter as well as your online portfolio if you have one. These are essential elements to your success. Study them and learn about them. Learn how to create a resume and write and edit a cover letter, good ones.
Other parts of your playbook include online resouces. You should have a professional LinkedIn profile. Also, you should consider developing a personal website for use as a portfolio. Developing a personal website gives you the chance to create the narrative because you can control what is there.
Be Game Ready When Your Number is Called
Every player sitting on the bench knows that when they coach calls their number, they need to be ready to get in the game and perform. If you practice your interviews, you will feel more prepared to meet the challenge when the call comes.
You also need to have your “uniform” ready when you get called too. Professional interview attire. For men, a dark colored suit or dress pants, button down collared shirt, neck tie and dress shoes. For young ladies, a suit (pants or skirt), dress shirt, and a pair of pumps. For a complete guide on what to wear read How to Dress for a Job Interview. If you don’t have money to go buy new clothes, there are plenty of thrift shops with great deals on what you need.
What should you be doing now
If you a haven’t started, the first step is to get started. Here are 5 Ways to Find an Internship for some methods you can implement today to kickstart your search. Also, check out my site, The Internship Manual for current internship openings across the country. If you don’t take any action, you result might just be another summer spent in job you hate, not making money and not building skills. Getting an internship is not just about occupying your summer hours, it is about career prepatation.
Companies want to hire graduates who can bring something to the table. A degree alone is not enough. To stand out and make yourself desireable to employers, you need to show that you can operate outside of the classroom and you do that, through internships.
The Internship Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Internship of Your Dreams needs to be your playbook. It’s March Madness. Get the book and go internship crazy!
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