Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Be a proactive internship chaser

Having applied to over 30 internships since I was a senior in high school, I can tell you being proactive in trying to land your first internship - or any internship - will increase your chances of landing the position.

From what I've seen, students spend lots of time sending their applications out to different internships. And once they send the application, they too often just sit back and wait for a response email or phone call. The typical internship won't call or email back right away or even confirm they received your materials - which is why I suggest being proactive.

Typically, it's best to wait between 1-3 weeks to follow up. After the waiting game, find the human resources contact and CALL (unless they specifically say no phone calls). Don't leave a message initially, but make sure to log who you contacted and when.

A spreadsheet or hand-written log of internships you have applied for is very useful to stay organized. A typical log should contain: name of internship applied to, contact person, contact information, date you sent your application, date you initially followed up, date you left a message and any other information pertaining to each specific internship you applied for.

After 2-3 unsuccessful attempts at phoning your prospective internship, leave a detailed voice message saying (in this order) your :
  • Full name
  • Why you're calling - e.g., " follow up on an internship application I submitted on [insert date].."
  • The action you would like them to take - e.g., "..I am calling to check where you are at in the internship selection process and to see if you received my application and would like to set up an interview.."
  • Phone number with area code
  • Re-state your full name, that you are following up on a submitted internship application, and your phone number
  • Thank you, Mr. or Ms. [last name]
After you leave a voice message, also send them an email saying essentially the same thing as above. Don't be afraid to be annoying. As long as you are polite and don't send a parade of messages at your prospective internship, you are only increasing your chances of getting that interview.

For most professionals, contacting potential interns is not the atop their priority list - so let's make their job easy by standing out from the rest by being proactive, polite and professional.


dream chaser said...

I am looking for internships this summer, and did not get one yet. Few companies have been interviewing though. Keeping fingers crossed. Thanks for the blog. Was helpful.

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