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How to get an Internship

By Daniela (Ungraduate Content Creator, Graphic Design BA)

Are you finding yourself succumbed to the pressure of the upcoming congregations or feeling uneasy about the journey to a placement year? Fear not, we’ve all been there. Before heading into those exciting but simultaneously anxious experiences, I have to remind you that being prepared is half the victory. So here are my top tips on how you may find yourself with an internship or placement under your belt.

Students working together around a table

1. Lists are going to be your best friend

First and foremost, start of by making a list of all your strengths and interests to determine what you like, but also what to look for in companies. Having awareness of what you can do and what employers want you to be able to do is an easy way to assess your suitability for the job, but also the job’s suitability to you. Subsequently, make a list of places you’d absolutely love to work for.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if it might be the place for you: Do their values align with yours? Could you see yourself working there? Do you like their company culture? Remember to take your strengths from your first list into this one. Realising your potential can really be a way in, and showing confidence in your skills and yourself can set that in stone.

2. Network

Networking throughout university can set you apart from others. Using a platform like LinkedIn can not only make you appear more assured and professional but can help you reach out to people. Creating connections helps you grow and learn, and as Bill Nye had put it, ‘everyone you meet knows something you don’t’. When you have pinpointed those companies you would like to work for, find them on LinkedIn and see if there’s any Northumbria alumni. Leverage your alumni to your advantage! Message them to introduce yourself, what you’re aspiring to do and ask for a chat about possible internships. People love to help others out, you just have to ask.

Student writing words on a blackboard  

3. Pick up the Phone

Calling the companies you want to work can be a really memorable way to introduce yourself. If you have the courage to call for a job, you most probably are already half-way there. Emails could work just as great, but calls are more immediate and require more attention. Cold calling can be scary but here are some tips on how to ace it.

People are busy so get straight to the point. Introduce yourself with confidence, be clear on what you want, be concise. And don’t forget to use flattery! An example would be: ‘Hello, my name is x and I’m a x year student at Northumbria. I admire the way you __. I’m looking to do an internship/placement with you and wanted to know some more about the process. Who can I discuss this with?’. Remember, being brave will pay off!

4. Be Confident

Portraying yourself as a person with a positive and confident attitude can leave a very lasting impression on people, especially employers. Although easier said than done, confidence can help you be perceived as the right person. You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘Fake it until you make it’. It suggests that by imitating confidence and competence you can realise those qualities and achieve the results your wish for.

If you find yourself feeling particularly low, remember to give it a try. The people on the other side don’t know who you are, so this is your chance to shine bright. Whatever you do, never sell yourself short, you deserve to talk of yourself highly!

A group of students chatting together

5. Patience is Virtue

The search for internships can be hard and tiresome, but always proves worthy at the end. Remember, if something doesn’t work out for you, it’s because it wasn’t meant to. Everything that needs to cross your path for good will do so, including your dream jobs. Keep pushing, keep your head up and you’ll find yourself right at the place you’re supposed to.

The search for internships can seem overwhelming so make sure to also make use of Northumbria’s Graduate Futures services, where you can find support on crafting your best CV, mock interviews and newly released job roles. Happy job hunting!

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