Employers reveal 7 secrets to ace your internship application
Securing an internship can be challenging for students and fresh graduates, as it significantly influences their career trajectory. To ensure effective learning and growth, it is vital for aspiring professionals to obtain internships in companies that provide valuable experiences. However, the competitive nature of internships can make the application process daunting. To address this issue, we have gathered the 7 best tips from employers to enhance your internship applications. These insights, derived from discussions with internship experts and seasoned business professionals, will help you stand out and excel in your applications. By following these tips, you can elevate your internship applications and propel your career to new heights
Table of contents
- Creating an impressive Curriculum Vitae (CV)
- Highlighting accomplishments on resume
- Including a cover letter
- Optimizing your resume for ATS (Application Tracking System)
- Showcasing your potential and passion
- Exhibit soft skills
- Be prepared for an interview
1. Creating an impressive Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Prospective internship applicants must understand that a generic CV template and basic grammar check are insufficient for guaranteeing success. To secure an internship, a detailed tailored resume is crucial, highlighting relevant skills and achievements in a comprehensive yet compelling manner. Utilizing specialized CV builder tools can significantly enhance the CV's quality, enabling strategic targeting of important keywords and pertinent details that employers prioritize.
Following these guidelines will greatly improve applicants' chances of standing out to potential employers and securing their desired internships with greater ease and efficiency. Here are three CV builder tools, we highly recommend you check them out:
2. Highlighting accomplishments on resume
When it comes to highlighting your accomplishments in your internship application, it is crucial to showcase your projects, accreditations, certificates, and integrate your portfolio effectively. As employers, we highly value GitHub links and repositories that are highlighted in your resume. However, it is important to be selective and focus on relevant accomplishments that align with the job requirements, rather than including everything you've worked on. Including unnecessary details will not impress your potential employers.
To effectively showcase your achievements, it is essential to pay attention to the wording in your resume. Avoid being vague and provide specific details about your accomplishments and skills. Instead of using generic statements like "Worked on XXX Project for Final Year Project," opt for more specific language. For example:
Developed XX Project using YY Framework within ZZ time for Final Year Project.
By using specific language like "developed," you provide a clearer and more impactful description of your role in the project. This approach helps employers understand your level of involvement and the skills you utilized. Remember, curating your accomplishments and focusing on specific, detailed wording will greatly enhance the impact of your resume and make it more impressive to potential employers. The goal is to ensure that your resume accurately reflects your competency, and your employer can understand it with just a simple glance at your resume. This is usually referred to as the STAR or SMART technique. Essentially, when defining achievements or real-life examples regarding our skills, you want to use the following points:
- Situation (the job, course, environment at the time)
- Tasks (the actual work done)
- Action (how the work was done)
- Results (the result of the work done)
3. Including a cover letter
A cover letter allows you to convey your unique qualifications and strengths that make you an ideal candidate. By tailoring your letter to the job description, you can draw attention to specific experiences, skills, or accomplishments that directly relate to the position you are applying for. This personalized approach demonstrates your attentiveness and ability to understand the needs of the employer. Furthermore, a well-crafted cover letter allows you to display your excellent written communication skills and attention to detail, which are valuable assets in any professional setting. With the potential to leave a lasting impression, a strategically crafted cover letter can greatly contribute to setting you apart from other applicants. So, here are a few of tools that can help you get to result.
- CoverLetter App
- KickResume AI Cover Letter writer
- Lazy Apply Cover Letter Generator
- Cover Letter AI
4. Optimizing your resume for ATS (Application Tracking System)
When companies receive a large number of applications, they often rely on application tracking systems (ATS) to efficiently review resumes. These ATS scan resumes for specific information related to the job description, requirements, experience, and desired skills. The system then generates a candidate profile and compares it to other applicant profiles, allowing hiring staff to quickly identify top candidates. To ensure that your resume includes the crucial keywords that recruiters will be looking for in their ATS, it is advisable to utilize an ATS matching tool or a resume scanner. These tools can analyze your resume in relation to the job description, helping you optimize its content. Some of the best tools available for ATS matching are:
5. Showcasing your potential and passion
In your application, it's vital to stand out from the competition. To achieve this, focus on expressing not only your ambition to advance your career but also your eagerness to make lasting contributions to the company. Employers value candidates who demonstrate their long-term potential. Utilize your cover letter to convey your enthusiasm for working with the company and outline how the internship will be a stepping stone for your career development. Showcase your involvement in relevant projects that highlight the specific skills the employer seeks.
When applying for internships, emphasize how the internship aligns with your aspirations and how it will enable you to grow professionally within the company. By showcasing your dedication and passion, you increase your chances of being considered a favorable candidate for the internship. Utilizing SEO and SEM standards in your cover letter and application materials can further enhance your visibility and appeal to potential employers. Remember to tailor your approach for each company, highlighting how your unique skills and experiences make you the ideal fit for their internship opportunity.
6. Exhibit soft skills
Applying for internships can be quite challenging since intern applicants will not necessarily have the experience or the relevant skills to impress your employers from the get-go. Of course, making sure that you match all the job requirements is a must, but there are certain skills you can dial down on, even as interns, to ensure that your application is well received. To land your internship application, you should focus on displaying these specific skills in your application:
- Communication skills
- Collaborative skills
- Critical thinking
- Personal and time management ability.
The idea is to express how well you can adapt to a unique environment and work with new people while maintaining good personal results. These skills can be quite rare in freshers and recent graduates, but if you take the time to perfect them, you will find yourself in a much better place both during and after your internships.
7. Be prepared for an interview
If you prepare your resume and your cover letter perfectly and your skills match the job description, eventually you’ll move forward to the interview process. There are many subjective ways to prepare for your interviews based on different career paths and fields. These range from simple ones like ensuring that you are well organized to more objective ones like prepping for technical questions.
While there can be specific questions that you might have to face during an interview, a wide range of them are general questions that most HR and employers use as a gauge for the applicant’s aptitude. You can find a huge number of resources online that target specific questions and how you can respond to them in a way that employers will find satisfactory. You can find some of these resources here:
- 30 Seconds of Interviews
- DoppleHQ’s Awesome Technical Interview Questions
- BlogHubspot’s Ultimate Guide to Marketing Interviews
- TheBrightDoctor (For Medicine and Medical School related Interviews)
As for technical questions, these will differ greatly based on your field and your position as well. For example, we at Optimum Futurist hire a fair number of interns for IT projects and outsourced development, so technical skills are something we focus on a lot. You can use the following resources if you’re targeting internships similar fields are:
The Final Basics You Should Cover
Now that we’ve covered the specifics that might make or break your applications, let’s also look at some of the basic things that most people should be generally aware of. These include basic tips about how intern applicants should typically approach internship applications and interviews with. While you might be aware of some tips, it helps to understand the employer’s perspective on these basic guidelines:
- Make sure you’re punctual about interview timings (whether it be remote or in-person.)
- Your attire is a non-insignificant reflection of your professional, so make sure you are well-dressed during your job interview.
- Preparation for any technical questions regarding your work and internship position is crucial.
- Lying in your internship application can often do more harm than well. An honest but eager to learn applicant will always receive favorable responses over a dishonest applicant.
- Try to put extra effort into your portfolio presentation if you’d like to focus on your previous projects and achievements.
We hope these tips provide you with a more detailed view on how employers scan internship applications and what you can do to ace your internship interviews. While a lot of these tips use examples aimed more towards careers in software development, web-based solutions, and IT services, you can rest assured that most HR departments and employers follow a hiring processed based loosely on all the ideas and tips discussed above.
However, no guide is complete, and we’ll be continually updating our list with emerging technologies and techniques designed to help people land more internships. So, we highly suggest that you follow our blog and keep a close eye on our future posts and updates. Furthermore, why not checkout some of our other articles to learn more about relevant technologies in the Software engineering sector right now.
You can read more tips on our blog