Career: Get Your Dream Internship

Hi lovelies!! I always attend so many networking and career conferences (#findspark) and always learn an insane amount from recruiters, mostly about what I’m doing wrong. Here are some of the best-kept HR secrets.

Step 1: Finding the Job, When It’s Not Posted Online:

Have you ever noticed your classmates sign on to this amazing internship that you can’t even apply to online? This has always baffled me that there are secret internships. Mostly, it is because they keep the internships within references. So, if an intern is leaving, she recommends her friend. That sort of thing. So how do you POSSIBLY apply to this?

If you don’t have a LinkedIn, make one. I cannot stress how important this is!! So many jobs nowadays are placed exclusively on LinkedIn, and recruiters often are too lazy to look for your resume in the huge database after an interview, so they’ll do a quick search. Get one.

This takes a little bit of confidence and is often out of many people’s comfort zones, but search for the company ex: Buzzfeed, and search “buzzfeed recruiter.” Pick one that seems more specific to your field, and take a few educated guesses on their email addresses. It’s often firstname-lastname@company.com, but make a few guesses or look up the company format. Send a polite, short email with a resume attached saying you’re interested in an internship. I have gotten so many interviews from this, often telling me they admired my initiative! More impressive than getting a reference from the last intern’s best friend.

Step 2: Cover Letter

I’ll leave standard resume stuff to Business Insider guides, but I hear at a lot of conferences that people really like the cover letter to be short, and to not repeat resume-listed experience, and instead give a little anecdote about one of those experiences. For example, mention when you saved that sorority event that almost didn’t happen, or when you thought outside the box during a crisis at your PR internship. Of course, tailor your cover letter to the company. The average company will find stories like that fun and unique, but Goldman may just roll their eyes. If it is a company with a particularly vibrant spirit like Disney or Condé Nast, they’ll love it. I once applied to a wedding dress company by describing my secret wedding Pinterest board that I would accidentally bring up on dates (I’m very casual). I regretted the cover letter immediately, but they called the next day and told me they thought it was so funny and stood out. Who knew! Act nuts I guess.

Step 3: Interview

Please ask questions when they ask you if you have any questions for them. Even if you don’t have any. Apparently that’s a trick for some companies that weeds people out. They want to see who’s there to learn. I often ask, “tell me about your experience at this company. What brought you here?” Or “what advice do you have for someone wanting to break into X industry?”

Don’t ask me about the “what are your greatest weaknesses” questions, because I still don’t know what to say. I’m not going to say “I work too hard” because, like, what.  And I’m also not going to say “I’m bad at numbers and I’m cranky in the morning” because no one is going to hire me. There is no right way to answer this.

Always write a thank you email 2-5 hours after your interview!

Step 4: The Waiting Game

I hate this, particularly when they promise a response within a time frame and do not honor it. Things come up, but they should always let you know when you took time out of your day to meet with them. But the fact of the matter is, they never tell you on time. I’ve always been told after they tell me I will know. But I get it, you’re freaking out. Mostly likely, they haven’t gotten to it yet. Here’s what to do: bug them, but wait exactly 1 week. If they haven’t gotten to if yet, it is the perfect refresher. They’ll note your persistence and remember you. Even if it takes another week, send another polite email. And, well, if it’s been 3, “he’s just not that into you.” But hey! Onto the next one!

Xo,

J