Do you know that an internship comes with a host of advantages for your future career? It will not only look good in your résumé. An internship will help you get first-hand experience in your future professional environment.

You’ll have a chance to make connections and acquire references for upcoming job opportunities. But most importantly, it will help you understand whether this is indeed the career you were hoping for.

Getting an internship, though, could be tougher than the placement itself. Competition is often high, and you’ll have to shine if you really want to lend an offer. If you don’t even know where to start, here are three ways to increase your chances of getting an internship.

  1. Identify a Suitable Internship

The first and perhaps hardest step to getting closer to your dream internship is understanding that offers won’t fall from the sky. You will have to start searching for a suitable position, and the easiest way is by pinpointing your targets on the web.

Scope out internship sites and check listings to make sure they are active. At this stage, don’t be afraid to cold call potential companies and ask if their listing is up-to-date or if they offer other opportunities.

An important thing to consider before applying for that unmissable position you just spotted is the feasibility.

It would be cool indeed to live in New York for the summer, but that’s not always realistic. Weigh in your budget and focus only on locations that are affordable and practical. Check out the cost of living in the area you’re interested in, and make sure to check beforehand if the internship is paid or unpaid.

In the latter instance, you will most likely have to think about inexpensive ways of living or get a side job to pay for your bills.

  1. Write a Stellar Cover Letter

Once you identified the company or companies that meet your criteria, it’s time to write a stellar cover letter that can catch the interviewers’ attention.

It is essential to use this letter to highlight your college experience, achievements, and professional goals, but it is also crucial to show the company you’re interested in their opportunity. Never send a generic cover letter that doesn’t mention the company’s goals, core values, and internship purpose.

Do your homework before contacting them and learn as much as you can about their history, reputation, size, and industry. This could be especially important if you’re applying for a paid internship, as competition is usually fierce according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Remember you must write the cover letter flawlessly too if you want to impress the employer. If you’re not good with words, it’s wise to ask for professional help. An easy way to find the right cover letter writing service for college students is by checking listings on sites such as IHateWritingEssays. An outstanding cover letter and résumé will most likely lend you an invitation to an interview regardless of how strong competition is.

  1. Deal with the Outcome

While attending an interview is a clear signal the company is interested in you, you must also show interest if you want to get that internship.

The first thing to do immediately after the interview is to follow-up with a hand-written thank you note. Chances are you’ll be one of the very few candidates who make this classy move, which means you’ll significantly distinguish yourself from the mass.

If you’re offered the job, you will usually hear from the company within the timeframe they gave you at the end of the interview. You will now have the occasion to show your interest once more, by responding promptly and professionally to their offer. Voice out any questions or concerns in this answer, as raising them after you’re hired will leave a bad impression.

If you don’t hear from the interviewer within the timeframe, you can assume you were not offered the position. However, it is still recommended to email or call the interviewer and ask for feedback on what went wrong.

Use rejection as an opportunity to reflect on your approach and see how you can improve your odds of landing an internship the next time you attend an interview.

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