One of the hottest workplaces for college students is a startup company. After all, there's a lot of perks that come with the job. Employees get to work in an environment with flexible working hours, more responsibility, a tight-knit team and a chance to impact the world. And, who doesn't want to intern for what might be the next billion-dollar startup?
For ambitious internship seekers, one of the main goals is to land an internship at a tech giant. Rather than just dreaming to work for a tech giant, here are five ways you can do to land an amazing startup internship.
You know the kind of person who has good connections in the startup world? He's the former intern or employee to popular tech startups, or the friend who has connections with influential people in the tech community. These kinds of friends are your one-way ticket to the tech community.
All you have to do is to stay in touch. Start a simple conversation about the startup industry and let them know you're interested. You can just say, "Hi (insert name)! I heard you were a former intern at (insert company), I was wondering how you scored the internship." This method is effective because it lets you know what kind of experiences your ideal startup is looking for. Plus, there's a lot of perks that comes with credible insider information.
On the other hand, if you have a friend who is interested in the same kinds of opportunities and internships, then reach out to them! Let them know that you're interested in the same opportunities, and update them on opportunities you've recently learned. Helping the members of your network is a great way to build lasting relationships. Who knows these friends might be your ticket to your next internship?
2. Join events and organizations!
When you're a college freshman with a few friends and a hometown in the middle of nowhere, it's hard to build a network. If your dream is to work for an internship in Silicon Valley, it's hard to make the right connections when you're living 5000 miles away.
That's where organizations and events come in. Join an organization that has connections with the tech community in your campus. This is exactly how I got my start in the tech community. I was recruited to become an intern in public relations and marketing in a student-run startup. After my first stint, it was a lot easier to sell myself for startup internships because of my past experience.
Another useful trick is to join Facebook groups. There are a lot of groups dedicated to jobs, internships and networking events created by the tech community. All you have to do is join and stay updated on events and opportunities. If you find an event that's aligned with your interests or your dream job, then be sure to attend!
3. Research and Plan
OK, it's not always practical to apply to your dream startup when you're lacking experience. Chances are you'll probably get rejected the first few times. That's where research and planning comes in.
Make a list of the startups that you want to intern with. Search for information about their internship programs or previous posts for the qualifications of their prospective interns. If you're applying for a content writing position, then check out their requirements and start planning ahead. For example, if they require samples of press releases, then start contributing to publications related to your dream startup's niche. This strategy ensures that you'll be ready once the time comes.
4. Focus on Building Your Resume
You've probably noticed that when it comes to interviews and applications, it's much easier to pass when you've had experiences relevant to the opportunity you're applying for. In fact, it's practically the first thing that recruiters talk about in your job interview. Most likely, if you have the right experiences, then you can easily ace the interview and make a great conversation.
You can start by envisioning the kind of work that you'll be doing in the future. If your still unsure about your career, then think about what your interests are. Do you love coding? Do you love contributing your articles to publications? What do you want to do in your spare time? Your interest will most likely align with your ideal startup job.
Once you've had an idea of what you want, then begin putting yourself out there. If you want to be a marketing manager at an e-commerce startup, then you can apply for work and opportunities that are related to your dream job. You can become a marketing intern for an advertising agency. You can join an advertising organization on campus. You can even apply for a part-time sales job in your own town. At the moment, you might not be working at your dream startup, but you're carving a path to get there.
Most people wait until they think they're ready. They won't apply anywhere until they're personally satisfied with their resume. After all, nobody wants to set themselves up for failure. However, you're probably headed nowhere if you're waiting and not failing.
If you want the opportunity, but you think you're not ready, then apply anyway! There's a lot that you can learn from your first failed job application. When you're waiting in line for an interview, you'll realize that the applicants with you might have more writing samples. They might also have a better design portfolio. When you're getting interviewed, your recruiters might ask for marketing campaigns you've organized on campus.
Sure, you're mostly likely going to fail. However, attending the internship interview, allows you to figure out what qualifications your dream startup is looking for. This ensures that the next time you apply, you'll be ready.
With a good plan and a lot of hard work, you can get any internship! Today, you're making connections and building experiences; tomorrow, you'll conquer the tech world.