Internships are a great way to get credible working experience, learn new skills, meet significant people, work on exciting projects and achieve your career goals.

In an internship, a business will usually elect to pay someone, usually a recent or current student, a reasonable rate for their time in exchange for teaching and practical exposure. Of course working as an intern can vary from business to business – some pay, some don’t pay – some teach you well and get you right in at the deep end, others may well, leave you to the photocopying. It’s important to communicate very clearly with the company you are aiming to intern  for as well about what your day to day tasks are and understand if they fit you well.

I’ll also add that internships aren’t for the faint hearted. They can be challenging and often require you to motivate yourself. Say you’re tossing up between an intern with your dream employer for $14 an hour, vs the prospect of working in a call centre at $25 hour. You might have to think carefully between one or the other. So be clear on what your short, medium and long term goals are with your life and make sacrifices and compromises if they are needed.

Whether you’re in nursing, teaching, business, engineering, science, health, law, or whatever it may be – there are 5 key steps every job seeker should follow to get an internship. If you’d like

1) Have a professionally written CV

I cannot emphasise this enough. On a weekly basis I see dozens of student or graduate CV’s – and one thing I can say is to get an internship you need to have a compelling case for someone to hire you. A professionally written CV will nail down exactly why an employer should choose you by amalgamating your transferable skills, achievements and interests into a three page document which will definitely grab the attention of an employer.

2) Differentiate yourself 

You need to really understand that for any given internship, at least a 100 other applicants are likely to exist. They probably have done similar forms of study to you, done similar projects, probably worked in similar positions and even have a CV that probably looks like yours. This is where you need to consider what you can do to differentiate yourself. Do you have any interests that are relevant to the employer? Are you applying for an internship at a clothing brand, and you’re a big fan of wearing it yourself? Are you applying for an internship at a law firm – and are actually aware of many of the cases they’ve been involved in. Or, are you applying for an internship at a bank, and happen to be one of their customers as well – totally in love with their brand? Make sure the recruiter knows this – we can help with that too.

3) Write to employers who aren’t currently advertising for internships

This is critical. Consider companies who are busy, expanding or going through seasonal spikes in work – and are likely to benefit from an extra set of hands. Think about what they need, what they could benefit from and how you can help them. Write to them, call them – whatever it might take. If you are unsure on how to do this, ask us to put together an action plan. We can break down into little steps who you need to contact, what you need to tell the, and how to go about your job search. Remember that this goes hand in hand with a compelling CV.

4) Get professional interview training

Despite how fabulous you might sound on paper – don’t forget you need to sell yourself in person. While you may have all the skills, education and experience relevant to a role, the truth remains that employers much prefer to hire someone they like on a personal level and can see themselves enjoying working with.

The interview will be one of the most challenging parts of your job search. In our shrinking job market, it is crucial to present yourself professionally to secure your dream job. We will coach you on skills and techniques of the job interview, to ensure that you give this crucial presentation your best shot. So far in 2013 we’ve coached over 70 different job applicants, guiding them towards real results in the interview room.

I highly recommend reading more about interview coaching.

5) Follow up all your leads on a regular basis

Remember that you need to constantly remind recruiters who you are, and that you work for them. Persist, don’t be lazy and talk to them. At least every two months, pop them a quick email to ask if they need a hand and could benefit from an intern, or know anyone who would be looking for an intern. If you feel uncomfortable about ‘pestering’ them – use LinkedIn to stay in contact with them. That way whenever you message an employer, they can easily be reminded who you are through a professional LinkedIn profile.

Lastly – if you are struggling to get results – we are here to help. You need to be serious about your life and accept that improvement is needed. Contact me using the form on this website or telephone me on 0211583156. I’ll be more than happy to talk have a friendly chat with you and talk you through what you need and how we can help. You aren’t the first person to struggle with getting an internship, there are thousands – and you won’t be the first to seek help. Usually a few tweaks and some expert guidance can  get you on track and getting the experience and job of your dreams!

I’ll speak to you again shortly.