Summertime is here! It's also time for a lot of young men and women to explore career choices as summer interns. While I'm a big fan of the European mindset, that young men and women should travel after college to find themselves before working away, you need to focus on the internship opportunities while you're still eligible for those slots. These five tips are important for every college student across the globe. Ready to get a great internship, then follow my 5 steps below.
Step 1. Hang Out with "Old People"
Yes, I said it, you need to hangout with old people. Imagine if you made the choice to forego your friend's party and hangout with a bunch of old people at a professional networking event. I remember being in your shoes in my twenties thinking people who were thirty were so old. Realize, you'll be there faster than you know it and your career success could come sooner if you learned how to connect with people as people and to get rid of hangups in your head like age, race, religion, etc. Everyone can teach you something, and usually, the more time on earth people have, they've gained some wisdom which is well worth it. The sooner you meet old people who like you, the sooner you'll land an internship because they already have a network and friends you can help you get to where you want to go.
Step 2. Get a Professional Headshot
You can take a great photo with your latest IPhone and send it to Fiverr to have the background edited if you're on a budget. If you have $150, I highly recommend you go to a respected photographer for a headshot that you can use for the next few years pending you don't dye your hair pink. You'll learn a lot working with a pro photographer on what to wear, what looks good in photos, how to hold your head, and what stance is best for the persona you are trying to put across.
Step 3. Sign-up for LinkedIn
This is the #1 tool used for recruiting and the only platform out there where you can brand yourself, your accomplishments, and pitch your interests via a short summary. LinkedIn is a database, so the more relevant key words you list, the more you'll show-up. Recruiters also have favorite schools that they work with to pull talent, so if they see you are at Harvard and still have a few years left to go, they might send you a note encouraging you to apply to their corporate internship program. If you didn't go to Harvard and want to network your way in, search for college recruiters and connect with them once your profile is complete.
Step 4. Hire a Coach
You didn't know how to play your favorite sport without a coach because you would've broken all the rules. The same goes for business today! There are rules in business, etiquette in networking, and strategy to finding the career you'll love. While I'd love to coach you to success, make sure your coach is the right fit by talking with them, reading their perspective on life, and seeing how they've navigated challenges to grow.
Step 5. Get Involved
When I hired college students they had to do more than just exist. They had to have a passion for something. I also looked for students who were involved in community organizations, non-profits, leadership, athletics, aspiring entrepreneurs, church, etc. The true lesson in life is that we are all here to make an impact by serving others throughout our existence. If you want a successful life you need to get involved.
And, back to your getting your summer internship...
Make a list of industries you want to explore. Decide if you are motivated by for-profit or non-profit values. Search those organizations and make a list of companies. Get in LinkedIn and find people who manage programs that you're interested in within those organizations, send a nice note keeping it brief, and ask if they would have time for you to meet onsite to learn more about their organization for a 15 minute tour. Start with this, and you'll move your life forward. Remember, for every no we receive, our higher power knows the right place if we're patient enough to allow the right internship to show-up while we move forward living the life we deserve.
If you landed an internship, let me know where in the comments below!