5 measures to make a standout internship application


Sunidhi is a first year B.Com. student who wants to start her professional journey as early as possible. Being a commerce student, she finds the fields of marketing, operations, and human resources (HR) most suitable for herself. However, marketing fascinates her the most. On a senior’s suggestion, she explores an online internship platform and discovers a lot of relevant opportunities there. She registers herself with the platform, updates her resume, and applies to various internships in profiles like marketing, social media marketing, and digital marketing. But, after waiting for several days, she still hasn’t received any response from the recruiters.

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Does Sunidhi’s story ring a bell with you and did you ever face a similar situation? Don’t worry if your answer is ‘yes’. First year students often come across such situations since they don’t usually have any field-specific skills. They also lack the right guidance while applying to internships because of the common notion that internships are meant for pre-final or final year students. Another reason is that human resource managers receive many applications on a daily basis and it gets extremely difficult for them to go through each and every application in detail.

In this case, what could you do to prevent your application from being ignored? Well, there are 2 things that you could do — make an error-free and unique application that makes you stand out among all the candidates.

How? Here are a few measures you could take to make a standout internship application –

  1. Short and precise resume – While applying to the internship, go through the internship requirements in detail and understand what qualities and skills of yours could do justice to the work responsibilities. Keep your resume concise and make sure that it does not exceed one and a half pages. Customise it by highlighting your academic qualifications, skills, projects undertaken, prior internship and volunteering experiences (if any) that are relevant to the internship of interest. Also, in case of volunteering or internship experiences, it is a great practice to give a brief description about the work responsibilities wherein you could mention something like — Converted 200 customers over call which led to a 5% increase in the profit of the company.
  1. Authentic and relevant cover letter – A cover letter is something through which you make your case by stating why you are the right candidate for the said internship. Keep your cover letter specific to the internship requirements and explain how you could prove to be an asset for the company. Mention your skills and back them with a concrete example. For instance, if you are talking about your good organisational skills then, you could share an example of an event you coordinated in your school or college. Moreover, keep the content extremely relevant. To give you an example, the details about a programming project is completely irrelevant for a content writing internship.
  1. Avoid spelling and grammatical errors – Spelling, grammatical, and typographical errors in your resume leave a bad impression on the recruiters. So, before submitting your final application, make sure your resume, cover letters, and assignments (if any) are error-free. Proofread the content 2-3 times yourself and if possible, get it proofread by a senior or a relative to ensure you don’t miss out on any error. You could also use tools like Grammarly and Hemingway editor to ensure the content quality of your application

  1. Do not hesitate to follow-up – With numerous applications coming in, the HR managers often share assignments with the shortlisted candidates. In this scenario, if the employer does not respond for 7-10 days after your timely submission of the assignment, you could drop a follow-up email enquiring about the status of your application. Keep your tone polite in the email as it could leave a lasting impression on the employer. In fact, a well-written follow-up could make you stand-out as a candidate as it shows your keenness and that you are comfortable communicating in a professional environment. Some students might hesitate to follow-up fearing that they might end up leaving a bad impression on the employer. In this case, you could research on the internet, read articles, or seek guidance from your seniors regarding writing a thoughtful and polite follow-up email.
  1. Stay optimistic and keep on applying – As Henry Ford once said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently”. This simple quote stands true for anyone who wants to move forward.

After applying to internships, it is possible that you might face a few rejections initially. The key to changing this situation is not to get discouraged. You should stay optimistic and understand what are you missing out on or if you are making any mistakes. Request the employer to share a feedback so that you could improve upon your application in the future. Another thing you could do is read articles about writing good cover letters for internships and improve your applications while continuously applying to more opportunities.

Courtesy: Sarvesh Agrawal is the founder and CEO of Internshala – an internship and training platform (internshala.com)

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