Get to know your professors
Perri says that if students give her and other professors the opportunity to know them better, whether it’s dropping by during office hours or going to get a coffee, then when internships become available down the line, she can make a good match between a student’s interests and skills and an internship. She says the same goes for students that may not have her for class but would like a connection to the working world.
Send a resume and cover letter
Find out who the hiring manager is and put a cover letter with someone’s name on it, not just ‘to whom it may concern’ and follow up with a phone call saying, ‘I’ve submitted my materials online and just wanted to follow up because I’m sure you’ve inundated.’
Wait a week and if you haven’t heard anything or even gotten a postcard saying we’ve received your material, make a hard copy of your resume, put it in an envelope and put a little note on the top saying, ‘I’m sure you have many applicants for your summer internship. Would love a chance to interview by phone’. It makes them remember you. “The whole idea is to make your resume stand out and you stand out,” says Perri.
Don’t settle for the simple
Even if you’ve been hired to work on a specific project, don’t settle for doing just that. Perri says that a lot of interns find they complete work faster than their employer thinks they will. Instead of waiting around, she encourages people to speak up and say the project is going well, is there anything else for them to work on? Or could the employer give them two or three things to work on over the next week, so that when they finish one thing they don’t have to keep bugging their employer for something else to do.
“When you show that you have initiative it opens up other opportunities,” says Perri.
“I think it’s like anything else, whether it’s the school curriculum or your next job, I think you want to get everything out of the organization that it could possible offer,” says Perri.
After being at the internship for two or three months, a student may be able to go shadow someone or attend a seminar at the company.
Perri says that to maximize the value of an internship, it takes a certain amount of assertiveness and willingness to hear no and not be upset by that.
The hiring manager often doesn’t realize how much an intern can do until he or she has been working for a few weeks. Interns need to keep reminding their managers that they are around and available.