How To Stay Confident When Applying To Jobs & Internships

How To Stay Confident During A Job Search

I know we all have that dream company or dream companies that we can see ourselves commuting to and from every single day for the rest of our lives, so applying to these places is extra nerve wracking since we all want to make sure our applications are perfect. And, it can even be easy to feel like you aren’t good enough for the role, or feel like you’re competing against a lot of other people who are just as qualified as you are, or more.

Those feelings can really get to us and cause nervousness that can really set us back—have you ever been so nervous to do something that you ended up making a mistake because of all the feels? That’s what I’m talking about. I’ve been in the process of looking into positions for both the spring semester and after I graduate for a few months now, and with the amount of time and effort it takes to look for things and apply, you honestly can’t afford the energy to be nervous about getting a response, or stress too much over an interview!

So I decided to share a few things that I do to keep my chin up during the whole process. Whether you’re a senior about to graduate and you’re looking for a position, or a freshman who isn’t looking for anything at the moment, these are some tips you can keep in your back pocket.

1. Research the company thoroughly. 

Knowledge is power, after all. The more you know about the company before your phone interview or in-person interview, the more confident you’ll feel in tackling any company-culture-type questions that come your way. It can even be something you do on the commute over to your interview to keep yourself busy and prepare at the same time. In your research, be sure to look for a recent company project that you can reference in your interview if needed. In my post on How To Have A Successful Phone Interview, I give more tips just like these, so be sure to check it out!

2. Really put effort into every application. 

Don’t b.s. anything, even if you think you’re a shoo-in for the position. Tailor your cover letter (and even your resume when necessary) to each position. I have both editorial and social media marketing experience, but in the past when I’d apply for social media positions, I’d send in a resume that was really mostly about my editorial experience. So it’s a no wonder why I never got any social media positions! If it means you have to create five different versions of your resume, it’s definitely worth doing if you really want the position.

Read also: 6 Terrible Cover Letter Mistakes To Stop Making

3. Practice interviewing. 

If you’ve never interviewed for a position before, it’s worth it to grab a friend and practice, or hit up your school’s career center for a mock interview. Practice makes perfect, and you can receive feedback on what you should emphasize more, and other helpful tips specifically about your performance.

4. Dress to impress (yourself). 

I always feel good when I look good, so I take interviews as an opportunity to dress up all nice and professional, and maybe even pose for a photo or two. If it helps, buy a new outfit just for your interview so you get really excited to wear it. I have a post on How To Dress Professionally On A College Budget in case you’re wondering how you can save on costly clothing.

5. Go in with a positive attitude. 

On the day of your interview, go the extra mile to make sure you don’t lose your temper over anything. It can really sour your mood and affect your confidence if you’re upset. Sometimes it’s the little things that really grind our gears, but it’s also the little things that can make us smile. If things aren’t going right, shrug it off and treat yourself to some coffee, or find a way to improvise instead of wasting energy being upset. Nothing good will come of crying or screaming, and you’ll only feel worse. Make sure you do what it takes to walk into that office feeling good and happy to be there.

Read also: 6 Ways To Maintain A Positive Attitude

6. Get yourself a job search buddy. 

You don’t have to go through the job search alone. Having a buddy (or a group of buddies) can help make the process more fun because you’ll be able to hype each other up and help each other out. Plus, they’ll be a shoulder to lean on when you’re stressed and just need someone to comfort you for a bit.

7. Don’t get discouraged if things don’t work out. 

I firmly believe that things always happen for a reason. Maybe you didn’t get that one internship because there’s a better opportunity waiting for you. Or maybe that rejection will help you realize something game-changing that you didn’t realize before (I don’t know what that could be, but if I ever find out I’ll let you know). The point is, don’t dwell on your losses. Thank the recruiter for their time, ask them to keep you in mind for any future positions, and move on. This coming from the girl who has trouble letting go of movie tickets I bought almost four years ago, so that means this point is pretty important. Learn to let go of a position if you’ve been rejected so you can bounce back more ready than ever for the next one. Think of it this way: at least now you’ve made a new connection in your job hunt.

8. Be kind to those who are in the same position as you.

Help your classmates and friends if they feel like they’re struggling! If someone reaches out to you for advice or pointers, or just to look over their resume, try to welcome the moment and give them a hand. I know they’re technically your competition because you’re both applying for the same jobs, but you’re going to get the position because you’re qualified and present yourself well at an interview, not because you lessened the competition by one freakin’ person. 

I’m extra passionate about this point because I see too many people who are unwilling to lend a helping hand to their colleagues because they want to be the best applicant and they’re afraid that giving a little help will hurt their chances of getting the job. It’s truly upsetting! Help your peers out in any way that you can. If you come across a job that you know your colleague would be interested in, send them the link in case they didn’t see it themselves! If someone asks you to give them feedback on their resume, be as constructive as you can. You’d want someone to do the same for you if the roles were reversed. Kindness goes farther than competition.

How do you remain confident during the job/internship hunt? Do you have a memorable job or internship experience? Share below! 

12 Tips For Getting A Summer Internship

Summer is upon us, and for many college students that means searching for internships, getting a summer job, taking a summer class to catch up or stay ahead, and a whole spiel of things that college kids typically do during the summer vacation. This summer, I’m going to be a lifestyle intern at an amazing content platform, and I can’t wait to start! Now, getting my position was no easy feat, and I completely understand the struggles of getting summer positions like these. I put a lot of work and energy into landing this position every step of the way and I’m proud to say that my hard work has paid off.

Since I’m a survivor, I’ll tell you exactly how I got my first internship. Keep in mind that I do not claim that these if you use these tips you will sure as hell land your internship; I’m just telling you what I did and how/why it worked for me. What I’m about to tell you are exactly what the title says they are — tips, a.k.a. helpful pointers. That being said, I still hope many of you will use these tips as helpful insight, and if you do use them and they help you land an internship then YAY, I’m really happy for you! Anyway, let’s get started, shall we?

  1. Begin your search AEAP — As Early As Possible! I started looking for summer internship opportunities in January 2016. Now, you might think this is ridiculously early, but there were a few companies that required application submission as early as January 31st. I shit you not. So being aware of really early deadlines will ensure that you aren’t missing out on the game, and that you get the chance to take your shot. Besides, wouldn’t it suck to know that you missed out on a potential opportunity all because you missed the deadline?
  2. Keep track of everything. I made organized lists of internships I was interested in, internships I had applied to, internships I couldn’t apply to (severely unqualified, needed someone to start immediately, etc.), internships I got rejected from, and internships I got accepted to. This was to keep my thinking clear and organized, because as a college student who hadn’t even scratched the surface of 20 years on this earth, I had a lot of school work and extracurricular work to do, and just a lot of other stuff going on. Internship hunting is very tedious, so you need as clear of a mind as you can get. Keeping track of everything this way really helped because sometimes I would find an opportunity, realize that I couldn’t apply because I was unqualified, find it again in a few weeks and then remember that I already covered why I couldn’t apply a few weeks ago.
  3. Don’t be afraid to send an email. You’d be surprised by how many people my age are afraid to send a quick email. I’m typically fearless when it comes to inquiries and getting information, so typing out a quick email asking a future employer if a position is still available really doesn’t phase me at all. You won’t always find deadlines listed for internships, so you need to be able to respectfully and effortlessly ask if the position is still available, or if the company has positions at all. I found myself doing this a lot, and sometimes they reply while sometimes they don’t. The idea is that you need to at least try because you never know!
  4. Think about what you want. That sounds really vague, doesn’t it? So one of my priorities when finding an internship was whether or not I’d be able to get paid for it. Hear me out. I have never had a paying job (tried really hard in the past to no avail) and to me it would’ve been really nice to have an opportunity that allows me to make a little cash that I can start saving for grad school, or use for my study abroad trip. So I considered paid opportunities first. Now, I’ve heard many times that one should take whatever comes his or her way when looking for experience, but one should still consider his or her personal preferences, too. You should never completely rule out an opportunity because it isn’t exactly what you want, but still don’t be afraid to take a chance on something that’s exactly what you dream it to be.
  5. Don’t be scared if your resume is longer than one page. I tried so hard to squeeze everything I’ve done in college onto one page for my resume. I even used size nine Times New Roman at some point because I felt I had so much involvement and experience to showcase, and I wanted it all to fit on one page because I thought employers would get bored with a long resume. If anything, employers will be annoyed if they have to read super tiny words on a page. It’s not the end of the world if your resume creeps onto the second page. But if you want a way to cut out unnecessary length to your resume…
  6. Keep your resume format simple. I probably could have added a few small decorative elements, listed my experience in a fancy way and all that, but truthfully a lot of those embellishments just take up space on an already busy resume. Sometimes, simple things are the way to go. This will also let you pay more attention to the quality of your resume.
  7. Really consider everything that should be on your resume. I kept on having to go back and add things to my resume because I somehow forgot to state all the websites I’ve been published on (even though I was only published just once on some), or the fact that I have some experience as a Snapstory content creator, or even the fact that I own my own website! This is major for someone looking to go into the magazine industry, and it was a major screw up on my part. I was actually told during a phone interview for a position that I really should have stated on my resume that I own a blog. Sit down and really think about everything that’s relevant to your work experience. If you’re having trouble distinguishing between what you should and shouldn’t include on a resume, seek help from the career center at your school, or even ask a supervisor what the best way to display your piece of experience on a resume is.
  8. Make your cover letter stand out. In a positive way, of course. In my cover letter, I used the first paragraph, the intro paragraph, as a way to be lighthearted and a little funny while still leading my potential employer to my main goal: why they should hire me as an intern. They say that employers only spend about 60 seconds on your material, so give them material that they wouldn’t want to forget; give them something that’ll make them smile, or even chuckle. I like to think that doing this will buy me an extra 2o seconds.
  9. Discuss the organization by name in your cover letter. You really shouldn’t send out a generic cover letter to 20 different employers. This definitely shows that you don’t care about each company enough to add some extra effort, so why should those companies hire you? Yeah, I had to go back and tailor my cover letters to every specific opportunity I applied to, and yes, I have multiple cover letters saved on my laptop, but at least doing this will make you a lot more likely to actually receive an interview.
  10. Really do your research about the company. This comes in handy with your cover letter because you should be able to demonstrate why you feel you’re a good match for that company, but it also comes in handy during interviews. I have been asked so many times about content from each platform, so of course I made damn sure I read a lot of the content from each platform. You will likely be asked about the company’s current work, so you better start doing some research. Familiarizing myself with the content was also really good because it helped me really see if I’d fit in well with the culture of each unique platform. I can’t report about celebrity lives for every single piece of content, so I would never try to take an opportunity with a platform that does just that. It just isn’t my style and it’s not what I’m good at. On the other hand, I love platforms that look at multiple lifestyle aspects, even with the occasional piece about a celebrity. You won’t be able to thrive in every single environment, so make sure you know which ones you might be most successful in.
  11. Keep up to date about current topics. Especially if you’re looking for an internship in some sort of journalistic industry. Even scrolling through Twitter the morning of an interview for breaking news, the latest overnight trend, or the most recent viral video that has society up in arms can drastically improve your chances of getting the position. You never know when you might be able to insert that piece of newfound knowledge.
  12. Don’t be difficult — make time for a phone interview. Yes, you’re a student and you have a lot going on, but don’t expect to not change a single thing in your calendar and still have a prompt phone interview. Your interviewer is way busier, so you might find that they only have two possible times to speak with you out of an entire week. Sure, you might’ve wanted Wednesday from 1-2pm for yourself so you can hit the gym, or catch another episode of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix, but you might also really want that interview, too. For me, scheduling interviews as promptly as possible was really beneficial because as an on-campus leader it can sometimes be hard to tell when a task will arise that you need to pay extra time and attention to. The more quickly you’re able to schedule an interview, the better; even the near future can be unpredictable.

Hope you’ve made it this far! This is just part one of a two-part series (I have SO MUCH to share with y’all!) I don’t want this post to be obnoxiously lengthy, so stay tuned for part two where I’ll get more in depth about the interview portion and some things toward the end of your application process.

How did you score your first internship?