You’ll Learn More on the Job Than You Will With Books
Getting an internship has become one of the best ways for college students to learn and grow during their school years. That’s why it’s one of the most important goals for students to achieve. Whether it be in the field that you are studying or not, internships provide valuable experience that can help you tremendously by building your resume and connections as well as earning college credit along the way.
Competition can be fierce between many applicants so you need to stand out from the crowd. I’m writing this from the perspective of a social media marketing internship at a startup called Nimble this summer. I have learned how to make your personal and professional brand more appealing and pointers that can make a huge difference when applying and interviewing for jobs.
Get Started by Polishing Your Brand
First thing to work on is your identity or, as the team at Nimble likes to call it, your personal brand. This is not just how you look on social media but what social says about you and how you are represented by the internet. Most job interviewers will look you up and if your profiles are not private, they will see everything you post on your Facebook, Twitter etc. You don’t want to set the wrong impression, it could cost you the chances of getting the job. So keep your social identities clean and professional.
How The World Sees You
A good way to start is by googling yourself to see what comes up and deleting anything you would not want your parents or boss to see. If You don’t want to delete previous accounts, just set them to private and keep your professional accounts public.
Create a Professional Presence on LinkedIn
Another key to improve your chances of getting a job is to show that you care about the industry and topics surrounding the company you’re applying for. It helps to do your homework to become knowledgeable about the industries and positions you’re interested in and to update your social identities to demonstrate interests or expertise in these topics. One of the best ways to create a professional brand for yourself online is through LinkedIn. This will be one of the first things that an interviewer will look at when they google you. Most people in the business world these days have a LinkedIn profile and use it to network and gain connections with other professionals. It’s the new resume or business card. It is also a great way to share personal information and things you are passionate about. So for example sharing an article about a new tech startup and how interesting it is looks a lot better than a picture of you and your friends drinking in Cabo. It is also important to stay updated with your area of study industry’s newest leaders and trends. Sharing content and interacting with other professionals on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook is another great way to grow your network and learn more. You can even use apps such as Buffer to automate your content sharing by scheduling it across your different social accounts over time.
Building and Nurturing Your Network
When you start networking it is important to always send personalized LinkedIn invitations to connect because it shows that you care and and it helps build better relationships. When you’ve personalized invites with what you have in common and why you’d like to connect and people will message you back with the same enthusiasm that you’ve showed them. A good start is to connect with friends, family, coworkers and past classmates and teachers you’ve had. Build your profile by endorsing others’ skills and they will endorse you, writing recommendations builds strong connections and it could even lead them to recommend you for a job!
Be Prepared By Doing Your Homework
Before you start applying and going into interviews you must have proficiency in basic knowledge of the company you are trying to become a part of. This means doing your research and being prepared for questions about the company’s product and what they provide to their consumers. This will make an even more stronger chance of you getting hired because it shows that you care and put time into preparing. Remember most companies are looking for professionalism, so dress nice like you would to an interview.
Know What Companies are Looking For in Interns?
As I have worked at Nimble this summer I have gained knowledge about some of the most important skills that employers look for in their applicants.
The first and possibly most important skill is communication. This can mean one on one communication, public speaking, or the way you present yourself on social media. Good communication creates better business by forming a stronger relationship with your customers and other business owners. Interviewers look for someone that is confident and not shy when talking to people. So look them in the eye and be calm.
Another skill that ties into communication is your writing skills. Writing is so important to get a message across and can even be more powerful than talking in person. This applies to personal messages online and also articles and blog posts.
Asking questions about the company, its products and the market it serves are all good ways to demonstrate interest and desire. Prepare before the meeting by doing your homework about the company and ideally the people interviewing you.
Remember to always be friendly and enthusiastic with interviewers and people in your workplace. Stay active with your life and social media and be involved in positive things that interest you.
Following up and Following Through is Key
When you send your internship or job application, you might not hear back for a couple of days or a week. It’s ok. A lot of the times the company or manager will be too busy to look at your application immediately. That is why it is important to follow up and have a conversation with a decision maker at the company to communicate your interest and to get a face to face interview.
It is also very important to follow up after your interview. Send an email within the first 24 hours after your interview thanking everybody for their time and the opportunity to meet them. You can even tell them how interested you are in the position and that you are excited to hear back from them. It takes time to get hired sometimes and you must have patience.
Use a good relationship manager. Nimble can help you stay in touch with your network and nurture it over time. Feel free to sign up for a free trial here.
Finally, I recommend watching this great webinar [VIDEO] with Kim Garst and Jon Ferrara where they teach you how to build relationships through content, conversation, and community.
I hope you have enjoyed these tips on how to build your identity and land an internship or a job. I would be happy to connect on LinkedIn or Twitter.
Good luck with getting the internship of your dreams!