How to Land Your Dream Internship

Do's and don'ts to help you land an internship.

Kelly Brunken, Zions Bank Intern Oct 11, 2017

Internships are a great way to gain experience in your field of study, and can ultimately become the deciding factor of whether you get hired as a full-time employee at a company. Studies suggest that internship experience can be more valuable than the grades you received in college courses or even your degree.

But with most college students having little prior work experience, how do you land an internship? Carol Durkes, a Zions Bank Human Resources administrator in recruiting, and Maren Defries, Zions Bank Recruiting Operations Manager, shared some “Do’s and Don’ts” when it comes to the application process and internship hunting.

The Resume

Your resume and cover letter are the company’s first impression of you, and the key to making it through the door for an interview — so make sure you have the right ones.

DO proofread, edit, repeat: Misspellings and bad formatting are a resume “don’t.” “You’d be amazed at how many of those resumes we still see,” Defries says.

Due to the high volume of applications, Defries says a resume that is not well done will almost always be eliminated as a potential candidate.

“Everybody should have someone else look at their resume before they consider it complete because you may not catch something that somebody else will,” Durkes says.

DON’T forget to showcase your skillset: “A good resume is key to getting an interview,” Durkes says. “If you can highlight things that are related to the job, this makes [the resume] stand out that much more. Showcase what you have done in school and what extracurricular activities you have taken an interest in.”

“Anyone can go to class,” Defries says, “but the people that are putting in the extra work show that they have more commitment to their field of interest or just working in general.”

A high GPA is also something that Defries and Durkes agree make for a good resume.

The Interview

Whether on the phone or in person, one-on-one or in a group, the interview is where you can let your personality shine and show your employer the valuable employee you can be — so make it count!

DO show enthusiasm: “With internships, you get out of it what you put in,” Defries says. “Interns who are motivated to put the work in that is needed, motivated to ask questions, not afraid to jump in and get involved with the company are the types of people we want to hire as interns and, later, as full-time employees.”

DON’T be rigid: “It is really a turn off when someone is not willing to be flexible,” Durkes says.

“Obviously, we know that students are in school and have class and school schedules that need to be worked around,” Defries explains, “but at the same time, the managers also have meetings and things that they need to work around, so being able to be flexible is key.”

Now that you know what an employer is looking for, what should you be looking for in an employer?

“Find somewhere you have the opportunity to grow,” Defries advises. “It will be rewarding, if you can get in with a company that will give you that opportunity to prove yourself.”

“I think you have to make sure that you and the company are a good fit, culturally,” Durkes says. “We heard from interns that, that was one of the reasons that they came to Zions — the culture seemed to be fitting with what they were looking for.”

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