Whether this is your first time applying or if you’re a seasoned veteran – applying for a summer or year long placement can be very daunting. From stressing out about those ‘scary’ interviews to frantically deciding on the specific internship. Hopefully, these pointers will show that with determination and hard work you too can land the placement of a life time!
Create a LinkedIn Account
It is very easy to set up and in the long term will reap many rewards. Often recruiters will ask for your LinkedIn URL and you don’t want to be the only applicant out of a bunch who has no LinkedIn. When crafting your profile keep in mind that LinkedIn is a professional platform for businessmen and women to market themselves and grow their networks. So make sure that your picture is a headshot in a smart professional setting. Encourage friends and family to add you to their networks and even send speculative invitations. Just be proactive!
Smash the CV
Your CV will be the starting point to most of your applications so your most relevant personal information, educational, past-career and extra-curricular experience should be listed here very concisely. Remember that you’re selling yourself to the employer, although there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, don’t be afraid to tether that line and list the boldest of your accomplishments. Simple Times New Roman or Arial font will suffice.
Widen your Search
Many applicants forget that narrowing the roles they are willing to undertake naturally narrows the opportunities that they come across. Applying for related roles and sectors is greatly beneficial, as you gain a plethora of transferable skills. For example, a student who has their mind set on working in the political sphere of Parliament would invariably do well to apply to sectors who are intimately involved with Parliament. Public affairs or journalism would be an appropriate start! No matter the industry of the summer placement you’re looking for, it’s likely many roles are directly or indirectly related to it.
There are two kinds of placement applications, ones which are extensively and meticulously researched and ones which lack even a modicum of research! Endeavour to be a part of the former, for potential employers find it all too easy to distinguish between well-researched applications and those that are wanting of more substance. Use revision cards to test yourself on basic history of the firm, the current market it exists in and what challenges it faces. Start watching the news and go from there!
Craft Your Cover Letter
Finally, make sure you treat the cover letter as another key component of the application process. The document should have a beginning, a middle and an end. All of which will be addressing a different theme. Although advice on the structure differs greatly, what remains true for all applications is that there are three questions which should characterise your cover letter. Why do you want this role with this specific organisation? What do you think makes you a suitable candidate for such a role? What is your USP (Unique Selling Point) and how will you utilise this in your placement? Each paragraph should cover one of these themes and avoid lengthy paragraphs. Keep it less than a page, this isn’t your dissertation.
Remember the age-old maxim, practice makes perfect. Persevere. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Needless to say, the greatest achievements aren’t given-but earned. Good luck!