The first semester of my senior year came and went which means graduation is right around the corner! Yay! Even though I’m so excited, I’m also freaking out because graduating means I’m going to have to be an adult and land a job. I felt like this would be something good to talk about because so many of us can relate to the difficulties of searching for jobs, or have questions about how to apply for jobs, or in my case, internships.
I’m a corporate communication major with a minor in entrepreneurship. I want to go into social media marketing when I graduate from Baylor. Thankfully, I have a couple of internships under my belt that give me relevant experience for social media marketing positions. So let’s break this down further:
What are internships and how do I get one?
Internships are your best friend in college. This is how most people end up gaining experience for the job or market they want to end up in. For example, during my internship with Magnolia Realty, I was the Head of Social Media Marketing and managed all their social media platforms. Social media marketing is something I want to go into professionally, and having this experience already will help me stand out to future employers. Also, many internship programs will offer you a full time position once you graduate. Here’s a list of helpful tips for applying for internships and jobs:
Start early: Internships: It’s seriously never too early to start looking for internships. Most internship programs only accept one or two individuals, so if you start early you’ll be ahead of the curve. Jobs: I’ve had many friends seal the deal with companies in September/October and they don’t graduate until May. Therefore, I feel like the same applies for jobs as it does for internships; it’s never too early to apply. I’ve been applying for jobs even though I don’t graduate until May, and was recently contacted by the HR department of one of the companies I applied at. They told me that they like my resume, but will put it on hold until they start hiring for May graduates. Keep this in mind when you apply early. Most companies have been telling me they start the hiring process for May graduates in March.
LinkedIn: Meet your new best friend. LinkedIn is a platform for professionals. It’s essentially facebook for jobs and careers. Members can publicly post relevant professional information that makes them stand out to employers. I have my resume tied to my LinkedIn profile so recruiters can easily access it. LinkedIn also has a special “jobs” section that allows you to search for different companies who are looking for interns or are offering entry level positions, associate positions, etc. This is a great platform to utilize. I’m serious, if you don’t have a LinkedIn account get one now. I’ll wait…
Have one now? Awesome! You can check out my profile here for an example if you have no idea what to put on your profile.
It’s ALL about who you know: I didn’t believe it when my dad used to tell me this, but all three of the internships I’ve had I discovered through people I knew. Start with your personal connections like teachers from high school or college professors who might put in a good word for you. Let your parents, friends, family, parents’ friends, etc. know you’re looking for an internship or job. If you’re in an organization, let them know you’re looking too. Many of my Alpha Kappa Psi brother’s parents own companies or know people hiring interns or full time employees. I would even suggest posting your job search journey to Facebook to see if anyone reaches out. As you’re reaching out to people you know, don’t be tempted to take any random internship or job available – clarify the type of industry you’re looking for because at the end of the day you want an internship that will give you valuable experience for your future career. Remember. connections usually can help you land the interview, but from there it’s up to you to seal the deal.
Career Fairs: My university offers career fairs for students all the time. A lot of them are major specific too, which is really cool. The universities do a lot of the work for you and bring companies from all over to talk with students. I’ve been to a couple and had great conversations with recruiters from all sorts of companies. I would recommend preparing for the career fairs and knowing a little about the companies you’re interested in talking with. It will certainly make you stand out if you know their company values or even what they do!
Email, Email, Email: If you don’t check your email religiously, then you better start now. Almost everyone in the professional world uses email to communicate. Emailing potential companies you’d like to work for is a great way to get your foot in the door. If they don’t have an email specifically for careers or jobs, then send them a message in their contact box. If they do have a designated e-mail for hiring, make sure you’re professional, but have a little fun with it too – show off your personality and be memorable. An e-mail signature also helps you stand out. You’d be surprised how many people don’t have one. Here’s what mine looks like:
Corporate Communications | Entrepreneurship
VP Recruitment | Public Relations | Alpha Kappa Psi
Baylor University | May 2018
Phone Number here
Follow Up: If you really want it, then you better go for it. Give an email or job application about 5-7 business days then follow-up with the company. Let them know who you are and that you’re very interested in the company. When I’m emailing companies after I’ve applied for a position, or as a general inquiry, I like to include what drew me to the company. This is where some research may come in handy. I usually go to the company website and see what draws me in. Is it the company culture, or maybe the values? I then add a sentence like this, “What drew me to [COMPANY NAME] was the company’s values. I pride myself on being honest and having integrity and actually built my website around those terms specifically.” This shows that you’re truly interested in their company and not just the position available. Following up like this may help you better stand out against the other applicants too.
Short story, there is this company I really want to work for and I messaged them. I didn’t hear anything. I waited about 7 business days and then followed up. I still didn’t hear anything back. I followed up a second time…nothing. I then decided to reach out to the president of the company on LinkedIn. I sent him a nice message stating my interest in his company specifically because of the culture and the values they pride themselves on. He never replied but accepted my connection request on LinkedIn. I then followed up with him on LinkedIn messenger…again, nothing. Finally, I thought I might reach out to the company on their Facebook page. They responded in about a day! What?! I was actually doubting they were even a real company at this point, haha! They told me to send an email to the address I had been following up with for about two months (this is why you start early folks). Two days later the president responded to me!! He was impressed by how much initiative I took, and said it was evident that I was passionate about the company. He mentioned that I get in touch with him in March when they start looking for new hires. Many companies have suggested that I send them an email every now and then telling them what I’m up to and keep them updated on what I’m doing. Doing this helps them to remember who you are until March, or whenever they hire. Following up may seem like you’re being annoying at first, but it’s actually very effective. Sometimes emails get lost, and if you never followed up then the company might never see you’re interested.
Professional Voicemail: Many companies will contact you by phone instead of emailing so it’s very important to have a professional voicemail. Something along the lines of: “Hi this is Tanna Wasilchak, I’m sorry I can’t come to the phone right now, but if you leave me your name, number, and a brief message I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you and have a wonderful day.”
Be Prepared for an Interview: In the meantime, be prepared if one of the companies you’re contacting offers you an interview. Interviews can be over the phone, via Skype, or face-to-face. I’ve actually had all three before. Face-to-face is definitely my favorite of the three. I feel like you’re able to shine more face-to-face and in return read the interviewer’s nonverbal communication. Another perk of interviewing in person is being in an office setting. I’ve learned in classes that it’s important to build rapport. If the person interviewing has decorated their office, pay them a compliment. Make sure it’s genuine though. Don’t say you love a painting they have hanging in their office, then know nothing about it. Be prepared to converse about what you compliment them on.
Have you had experience with this already? If so, do you have some helpful tips you’d like to add? I’d love to hear from you! Have any other specific questions for me about this? Feel free to email me here.
With love always,