You can pick any career, right from high paid bankers and Premier League footballers to the more sustainable and social jobs; mistakes will be inevitable in the pursuit of your chosen career. As frustrating as they may be, we learn the most from our mistakes and I learnt quite a bit from mine whilst looking for an internship 2 years ago.
1. I started looking for internships pretty late. For example, for a June start I started my internship search in January – THAT IS LATE! Start looking for internships as soon as you decide you want one. Remember, it’s never too late to start but the earlier you start, the higher chance you’d have.
2. I didn’t attend a single presentation on finding an internship. I stuck to reading articles and news for internships, but the best advice and “know-how” of the process is more organised than we think! Attend a presentation by employers on campus or by your careers service to gain the most reliable and latest information.
3. I kept my search and decision to myself! Yes, that was a massive mistake. If you are struggling or need more information, speak to your friends and tutors. Even for those who are looking for internships themselves, there is so much to learn by speaking about it.
4. Lack of CV Review – this is a general mistake everyone makes and I was no exception. I had the content on my CV but the design and reading it must have been a pain. After all, I got absolutely no response till I got my CV reviewed late in the year. Please get your CV reviewed by your careers service. Very important when looking for an internship.
5. Not using any social resources. I am saddened by this really. I didn’t have a twitter account and no profile on Linkedin. I must have been such a bore of a candidate to recruiters. Please use social resources – general rule I follow – if you can sell yourself somewhere – sell.
6. When applying online, not using online resources like WikiJob. If you haven’t heard of it, then my friend, we are making similar mistakes. I won’t say it’s got all the resources but try it, top employers’ secrets are up there.
7. Lack of preparation for interviews. When I did get an interview or two, I fluffed them pretty badly. Not having spoken to anybody about my interview and preparation, I ended up doing the school-boy error – I told the interviewer what I did. But remember, the interviewer wants to know how you did it, not the result! Fail.
If you are making any of these mistakes, please stop whatever you are doing and re-organise your internship search. Speak to other students looking for a placement/internship and get on the back of your careers service. They provide useful services and I can vouch for them first-hand.
We have some quick guides below to help you remedy some of the mistakes listed above. Social networks are crucial whilst looking for an internship.