“Freshmen don’t do internships.”
Freshmen are constantly told they need to spend their first year assimilating and transitioning into their new lives and that they don’t have the experience necessary yet for internships. They’re told they should join clubs and organizations instead.
Even sophomores or juniors who lack experience are told to wait — just wait.
But what if you want an internship? What if that’s just something you feel ready for?
Heading into my first semester, I knew I wanted an internship during my second.
Everyone — or at least it felt like everyone —told me I shouldn’t, couldn’t and wouldn’t: the whole trifecta.
This life, however, has definitely taught me that my favorite pastime is proving people wrong.
So, that’s exactly what I did.
Of course, I currently am trying every day not to have binder rings imprinted onto my forehead from falling asleep randomly as I try to get all the work I need to get done, but it’s worth knowing that I am out there, doing my best with what I’ve got.
Freshmen and other students lacking work or prior internship experience can and do get internships — it’s all about wanting it.
If you’re a freshman or someone with a resume lacking the classes or experience in comparison with those older, here are some tips and advice from someone who’s been there and honestly still kind of is.
Don’t hold back, don’t be picky for nit-picky reasons: Apply to everything and anything that matches your major and that you find remotely appealing. You can be picky after you get your responses and you get multiple acceptances.
You will get rejected. Let that motivate you.
Hang up all those rejection e-mails. Read the e-mail, bite your lip, print it out, hang it up and apply to the next internship opportunity you see. Get that experience interviewing — see how you can improve.
Amp up your resume with buzz words
“Fostered,” “facilitated” and “coordinated” are all words you can put before writing your positions and leadership on the résumé. Sell yourself and your experiences — even if they might not sound that “fancy.”
Don’t be afraid to be honest
Be honest subliminally that you are inexperienced, but make clear that you will do your darnedest to work thrice as hard. Writing in your cover letter or email, “I have always been inspired by___” or, “I will do my best to prove to you that I am worthy of this position” can be just the oomph you need.
Be personal in your interview. Laugh!
Shine through with your smile, your handshake, your honesty. At the interview for the internship I have now, I answered every question with “And it feels so cool to know,” or “I find it so cool,” and then stopped myself and said, “I know I’m saying “cool” a lot and it’s definitely not the word I want to be using…must be the nerves!” Being honest and personable and empathetic and just unafraid of failure can go a long away.
People want to work with someone they enjoy having around. Show that you’ll be an asset to the office — that you are a sweet, but cut-throat worker — that you are happy and optimistic and will be a great booster to the environment.
Connect every experience to an important lesson
In your interview, connect every experience to a meaningful lesson or feeling. If you’ve volunteered somewhere, don’t just say what the volunteer work was. Talk about how that taught you the meaning and power of team work, talk about how you learned the importance of making a difference even if it’s through something small, etc. Show that you have depth and that you are a team player.
No matter what, don’t give up
Don’t ever doubt yourself. Don’t ever think you’re not worthy enough just because you are not as old as other applicants.
Don’t ever think that you aren’t good enough, because you are. And it is that confidence that is infectious and can radiate through your cover letter, résumé and handshake that will get you that one e-mail you don’t have to hang up as motivation.
You’ll hang it up because you got it.