Note: A version of this post first appeared on michaelgowin.com. Updated 28 Sept 2016.
Every semester at Lincoln Christian University, I coach students who are looking for internships. We talk about the kinds of qualities organizations want from interns and what they need to do to stand out in a sea of applicants. My colleague Dr. Mike Nichols, who has several students prepping for internships this fall, asked me to pull together some resources for his students. Here goes.
Keep in Mind
- This is not about you; it’s about what you have to offer and how you can help the employer.
- Your resume doesn’t get you hired, it gets you an interview.
- Employers are afraid of making a bad choice and want to reduce risk. The less risky you show yourself to be, the better your chances of being hired.
- Employers may give your resume only a few seconds. Make sure it captures their attention and interest.
- Everything you do in the hiring process should answer this: what separates me from the 20 other people applying for this job? Here are a few ways you can stand out.
- Do everything you can to be helpful to your supervisor. Remember that she will be less productive while you’re on the job.
- Focus on building good relationships with everyone. You never know who can help you find work after you graduate.
- Hone your communication skills–it matters so much more than you think.
48 Days to the Work You Love–Dan Miller. While there are tons of good books available for job hunters (including the perennially excellent What Color is Your Parachute), Miller’s 48 Days is my one-volume pick. The first few chapters help Christians sort through the ideas of calling, giftedness, and work while the reminder of the book offers practical tips for resumes, cover letters, and interviews.
Linchpin–Seth Godin. Why would someone want to hire you? After you’re hired, why would they want to keep you around? How do you become the person they can’t live without? Read this book.
Also–take a look at Dan Pink’s The Adventures of Johnny Bunko and Richard St. John’s 8 to be Great. I’ve written about them here.
While you’re on your internship, consider writing a blog or journal. Write a post each week about your experiences and what you’re learning. Why? Well, for one, having that record will be valuable to you later. Two, when you start looking for a job after your internship, you could point prospective employers to your blog. Go Tell It by Jim Killam and Lincoln Brunner is your go-to reference for doing this well.
“The Ultimate Guide to Getting a Job After you Graduate” – HubSpot. If you read only one thing, read this.
“The Importance of a Good Resume” – The Art of Manliness. Walks you through the various parts of your resume with good suggestions for each section.
“How to Write a Resume That Will Land You Amazing Work” – Chris Brogan. Sort of the article equivalent to Seth Godin’s book above.