5 Tips for Landing Your Dream Job or Internship

In Austin, we see the competition for jobs and internships first-hand. Students graduating from college want to stay in Austin and around the country, word keeps spreading that Austin’s economy is booming, making the competition for jobs and internships fierce. No matter what city you are searching in, the process of landing your dream job or internship is the same. Here are 5 tips that can help you on the right path to a position that is your perfect fit.

1. Know your personal brand

Before you start searching job/internship boards or networking, you have to figure out who you are. Here are some questions you should be able to answer:

  • What sets you apart from other job/internship applicants?
  • What skills have you learned that will benefit your future work?

2. Know what you’re looking for

Get specific with your answers to these questions. You may not find a position that fits all of your criteria, but after you’ve put some thought into it, you will know what kind of work and environment you would excel at/in.

  • What kind of job/internship are you looking for? (industry, work hours, size of company, etc.)
  • What work environment do you work best in? (atmosphere, co-worker demographic, managing setting, etc.)
  • What is your dream job/internship?
  • What are your goals for the internship (i.e. I want to learn how to write press releases, pitches, contributed articles, etc.)

3. Perfect your resume and cover letter

Your resume and cover letter may be the first impression a potential employer has of you. Will they think you are professional or sloppy? When you’re preparing your resume and cover letter, don’t forget to:

  • Personalize your cover letter to the company. An “insert company name here” cover letter may be easy for you, but does it really show the reader why you truly belong at that company? Likewise, do you see yourself as another “insert job/internship applicant here” for the company? Also, keep it short and to the point.
  • Get a second pair of eyes on your resume and cover letter. Have them check and double-check for correct grammar and spelling, possible incorrect company names inserted, and if the documents present you in the best light possible.
  • Keep your resume to one page.
  • Highlight your skills by explaining what the results were. For example, don’t just say, “Drafted press releases.” Instead, “Drafted and distributed press releases resulting in secured coverage with X, Y, Z publications.”

In addition, develop a succinct elevator pitch to answer the dreaded “so, tell me about yourself” statement. Include information about who you are, what you’re looking for and what you can offer.

4. Protect your personal brand

When someone searches for you on the Internet, what will they find? Does your personal brand show that you are professional or irresponsible? Because social media is everywhere these days, your personal brand could be seen and analyzed by anyone and everyone. Be careful what you post online and how you present yourself.

5. Expand your network

Make a personal goal to attend a set number of networking events and meet a certain number of people every week. There’s nothing like face-to-face communication, and you never know if you might meet someone who is hiring or if they know someone who is hiring. Bring business cards, your elevator pitch and a positive attitude, and be ready to meet other professionals with whom you can form relationships. Don’t forget to follow up with them afterwards.

Finding the right job or internship is a long, sometimes impatient, process, but remember, you are looking for a position and company where you fit and where you can excel and grow. Don’t lose sight of your goal!