In my previous blog post I mentioned that Edinburgh Napier offers the chance to get an internship as part of the degree only to some courses (as an elective module), so either if you won’t choose that as a module or if you don’t have such chance within your programme you should start preparing to approach companies to ask for work experience. So where to start? This is my top 10 list of things to do while looking for an internship, so here we go:
- Keep an eye open for vacancies: Edinburgh Napier sends you emails on a regular base with relevant internships positions available. Scan the opportunities and start getting an idea for what employers are looking for. Every job has a job description which tells you the skills they’re looking for in candidates, so make sure you fit such profile and make it clear in your CV/resume.
- Make sure your CV is always up-to-date, clear and without typos: perhaps a visit to the CV doctor would help make it perfect! The CV doctor moves around the campuses and his schedule is updated here (point 2.2).
- Create a LinkedIn profile and showcase your education, awards, courses and work experience to have a chance to network online. LinkedIn is completely free and gives you the chance to build a strong professional network, so make sure to use a professional photo as well as content. Tailor it to the positions you’d like to achieve so you have more chance to show up in searches.
- Apply to your favourite organisations even if they do not advertise vacancies: you never know, they may like your profile and decide to give you a shot anyways!
- Practice interview questions: either by watching YouTube videos about interviews or by meeting up with someone at the Stand Out centre in Merchiston.
- Work on your portfolio: both online and offline. As you may not just be applying to local companies, make sure you showcase your work online as well to give yourself (and employers) a chance to be noticed outside your circle.
- Develop a positive online presence: employers Google you in the same way you Google them. Make sure your online presence is not compromised with weird (aka disgusting!) pictures of yourself last night at the pub, impolite words or comments. Remember that your online persona can either help you – prevent you from getting an internship/job.
- Start writing a blog about your favourite subject, or the field you’d like to work for: this will show dedication, true passion and expertise. Fish among your favourite journalists’ publications, books and articles and make sure to reference them (finally, we all love referencing!).
- Plan your summer around the chance of getting an internship: that’s the best moment to gain work experience because you don’t have the university workload pressure. I know, vacation is appealing and many students live on the YOLO wave, but start thinking about your future now and you’ll thank yourself in a few years time.
- Don’t wait for companies to contact you: it’s up to you to make it happen! So start reviewing your CV, portfolio and interview skills today and start applying! Don’t waste time in complaining how hard it is, because if there is a will there is a way!
There are obviously many other things you could do to make sure you’re prepared e.g. following people who already hold the position you’re aspiring too, check out their CV and so on, but I reckon this list is a good beginning. Please feel free to share your advice on such matter as well as to get in touch if you have any questions.