As an international student, landing a summer internship is an avenue to help you gain a better understanding of the labour system in your new country. Though quite competitive, a summer internship can be a launchpad for your desired career path.
As much as you want to be paid while working, you should also not neglect unpaid internships as your working experience prepares you to enter the workforce full time.
As an international student, you should be able to market yourself, make interviewers see your potential, and make them know they need you as much as you need them for the role you’re applying for.
Below are preparation tips to help you ace and land that summer internship.
START PREPARING YOURSELF IN ADVANCE FOR SUMMER
It’s important to start assessing yourself before summer comes as this gives you plenty of time to strategize.
This is also the period where you make pertinent decisions ahead of time. In this phase, you get to work on your grades, be on your best behaviour, and do a lot of research on the organisation(s) you’re interested in. Self-assessment is key in this phase.
Furthermore, make sure you look out for companies that fit or would help build your career ambitions and make a list of diverse organisations either big or small.
BUILD ON YOUR SET SKILLS
As an international student, If there’s one thing that will make you stand out from other candidates when searching for a summer internship is your skill set.
Companies want to see potentials from prospective candidates. In as much as hard skills are very important when it comes to getting a summer internship, your soft skills will definitely pave the way for you as it determines your ability to relate with people, build meaningful relationships and also adapt to the work environment.
Examples of soft skills include; emotional intelligence, time management, and excellent communication. Soft skills are major contributors to your job performance and progression.
FREQUENT JOB BOARDS
A job board is usually a website used by companies, Human Resource personnels and organisations to advertise their vacant positions to job seekers.
Job boards have become a go-to for people looking to secure internships in their desired fields of interest. There are various job boards out there and different ways to use each of them to your advantage.
You could also make enquiries about job boards in your college career centre to help narrow down your search.
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Networking is as important as having a great resume because if your connections are solid, you wouldn’t have to sweat to get your resume up there.
The bulk of your time should be spent networking as more than 70% of Internships are gotten through strategic networking. LinkedIn is a major platform that allows you to build connections and also pitch yourself to top organisations. Building your LinkedIn profile helps you to remain visible and at the same time on top of your job search game.
You could connect with alumni from college, go through their connections, look for desired organisations, send cold emails, and request a coffee chat. You need to be determined if you want to have a healthy network. LinkedIn saves you the stress of having to send out tons of resumes on different job boards.
On our previous podcast, we had a talent acquisition manager discuss how to overcome the fear of networking.
Moreso, some organisations might require you to get letters of recommendation from your college academics. So don’t forget to also build a great relationship with your professors, lecturers, and your fellow coursemates.
HAVE A CAPTIVATING RESUME AND COVER LETTER
As an international student, note that your resume is your ticket, and it determines if you’d be considered for your summer internship or not. It is the first impression that your potential employers or HR will have of you.
Some tips for creating a great resume include highlighting your volunteer experience, majors, and hobbies on your resume (and) your cover letter. Your cover letter allows you to express yourself, it gives a voice to your resume and also helps you include job interests. Just make sure it’s original and very personable.
Don’t send out your resume and cover letter in a rush. Make sure you go through them over again. Ask your friends to help you proofread, if possible.
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START SENDING YOUR APPLICATIONS AND WAIT PATIENTLY FOR YOUR INTERVIEWS
If you have followed through with these steps, you’re good to go. You can start sending your applications ahead of time and track them. Write out lists of potential organisations, and create a spreadsheet that helps you monitor your submitted applications. This helps you stay organised and calm.
In conclusion, getting your desired summer internship doesn’t often come easy. It requires a lot of hard work and persistence.
If you can look beyond the stress, you’ll definitely pull through and also get that work experience that will plunge you deep into the system to actualize your dreams.