Research indicates that graduates who can offer practical work experience are most likely to develop the skills employers seek in an Intern.
With applications at record high levels, employers are not just focused on academic results, they expect experience which can illustrate less tangible criteria; for instance, the kind of person you are, your personality traits, thinking style, diligence and determination to succeed - in short, the characteristics that 'fit' with their culture.
Whether you are seeking an internship in technology or management consulting, here are five key criteria to a successful internship hunt...
Can you think strategically and quickly grasp complex issues?
Employers value people who welcome the challenge of finding and implementing solutions to problems that can improve performance, and help to build strong relationships and partnerships; this can be demonstrates in your project work.
Are you experienced with working with people from diverse backgrounds?
Employers require team-oriented Interns with outgoing personalities. Do you recognise the value of different backgrounds, perspectives and points of view? Working with people from different cultures can provide insight into a rich variety of opinions and ideas. Provide evidence that you are keen to learn, share and listen to others, including with people who are different from you. You could, for example, illustrate your consultative approach to extra-curricular social / voluntary activities.
Strong communication skills, with an ability to present information effectively
Employers need people who are technically proficient. Can you demonstrate your ability to communicate and present information and formulate views persuasively, verbally and in written form, in both informal and formal environments; this can be demonstrated in your coursework and team-oriented project work.
Diligence, integrity and respectEmployers require professional commitment. Do you have a clear sense of personal and professional accountability? Can you demonstrate that you are committed to doing the right thing? For instance, have you been elected to and held positions of responsibility that can demonstrate your conscientiousness and reliability?
People with resilience, energy, enthusiasm and sound judgment
Employers require future leaders. Can you demonstrate that you are passionate and excited about business opportunities and what your future holds, and have what it takes to go that extra mile?
Your application - what to include on CV
With such high stakes, it's not surprising that graduates worry that they don't have enough experience to produce a winning CV. It can be a daunting prospect, particularly if you don't know the best approach. One thing is certain, your CV has to be well pitched, with job relevant content and plenty of creativity in the page design.
Whilst academic relevance and capability count, the key is to focus on accomplishments, initiatives and the aspects of your experience that demonstrate your value. For instance, if you are looking to work in law, then an ability to assimilate and interpret information will naturally be important. Give an example of when you have undertaken legal research into a complex aspect of law, and identified, summarised and presented the salient facts to illustrate analytical thinking, and written and verbal communication skills.
Your CV has to demonstrate your value in order to make a memorable impression with potential employers. However, you need to know what they require.
In a nutshell, here are 10 Key Steps to writing a perfect CV...
- Write a persuasive, factual and job targeted Profile
- Use action-focused key words: initiated, envisioned, accelerated, implemented, created, developed.
- Highlight qualifications and areas of expertise
- Show-case achievements and value in clear, succinct bullet-pointed statements
- Substantiate claims with proven examples and bottom line benefits
- Have a consistent theme directly related to your career objective
- Articulate your ambition, motivation and desire to succeed
- Incorporate skills gained during work experience or voluntary activities, competitions etc
- Use short, concise sentences - recruiters have seconds to scan & short-list your CV
- Highlight awards or recognition received
Regardless of the fact that the jobs market is competitive, you will open doors to fantastic career opportunities if you write a professional CV that show-cases your strengths, personality traits and achievements.
With a short time frame to capture and sustain interest, your CV's visual presentation has to be eye-catching and easy to read. Put yourself in the position of the recruiter and write from their point o view. Keep it sleek - make one word work for two. Create a logical format with clearly defined sub headings to act as signposts. Prioritise your information, commencing with the facts that are pertinent to what the reader wants to know.
Finally, remember to leave plenty of white space so that the text isn't overwhelming, and illustrate you have a good command of the English language - be articulate and proficient in grammar and spelling.
About the Author:
Helga Ann Edge MBA is a sought-after CV and Resume writer, and in LinkedIn's "Top 1% Most Viewed LinkedIn Profiles for 2012."" Since 1990, she has helped many thousands of clients find not just a job but a rewarding and fulfilling career. If you need help with your CV or application for an internship, CONTACT Helga direct
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