Finding internships as a college graduate has proven to be a slightly more challenging task than I originally thought; for starters, it seems as though every internship posting that I stumble upon manages to include the words, “for those currently seeking a college degree only” within the job description.
And when we do find them, our heart begins to race and we know that within this internship posting lies our future. But, what happens after that? Simply submitting our cover letters and résumés (that have been picked through with a fine-tooth comb) seems like it might not even suffice.
Well, fellow recent graduates, this is when we put networking skills to the test. And, on the off-chance we don’t know someone who knows someone who knows someone who can help us, it is up to each and every one of us to make sure that someone who matters does, in fact, know us.
In other words, it is time to master the art of the cold call (and networking in general).
To some, take myself for example, the thought of placing a cold call may cause an onslaught of panic and horror. But, just as I have conquered my fear, so shall you.
The first step to a successful cold call (and networking) is to get a better grasp on your hopes and your dreams and your ambitions. Where do you want to live? What exactly do you want to do with the degree that you slaved so hard for? Are you willing to relocate right away? Is paying versus nonpaying important? What do you know you DON’T want to do?
Once you have a better idea of who you are, what you want and where you want to go in life, you will not only be able to sell yourself to future employers, but you will be able to better pinpoint the perfect internships for you.
What now? Now, you must research, research and, oh hey, research. Find the companies that attract you, whether it is because of their internship program, their company values, their clients, etc. After you have picked some opportunities that really appeal to you, it is time to dig a little deeper.
Are you somehow connected to company? Can you get a connection of a connection of a connection to help get your foot in door? Who is in charge of hiring? What has he/she accomplished in his/her own career (Pst… check LinkedIn for that one)? What current projects is the company currently involved in? So on and so forth.
- Pick Up the Phone:
You may be wondering, is a cold call really a cold call if you invest so much time in researching the company? Yes. And, on the plus side, the more prepared you are, the more impressed the company will be AND the more confident you will sound.
All in all, a little hard work can really pay off.
Typically, you will find yourself calling for the human resources department. But regardless of whom you are planning to call, it is important to know what you are going to say about yourself. For this part, I recommend the 30-Second Elevator Speech.
- Most recent job title at XYZ company OR recent college graduate of XYZ University
- Brief description of the product or services offered by the company OR degree information
- Length of time with company
- Length of entire career OR internship experience
- Provide your answer to the question, “What’s next for your career?”
- (If leaving a voicemail message) Repeat name and provide telephone number
Take it from me, a recent convert, the cold call pays off. It might seem like a daunting task at first, but once you have received your first meet n’ greet quandary or even a full on interview you will be a believer as well.
- Intern Life After College: Convincing the ‘Rents that Unpaid Pays Off (theinternview.com)
- Intern Life After College: 5 Qualities of the Right Internship (theinternview.com)
- Intern Life After College: Be Picky, You Have Choices (theinternview.com)