6 Blunders To Avoid When Applying For Internships

By Billy J. Clanton| February 24, 2015

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Have you been looking long and hard for an internship but just can’t seem to catch a break? I’m currently on my 12th and half internship so I honestly can’t really say I know the feeling, but I’ve met a lot of other interns in my time who all seem to make the same mistakes when applying for internships. 

Being the seasoned internship pro (or king?!) that I am, I like to think I’m somewhat of an expert when it comes to securing the job I want. Internships are more in demand now than ever before, so I always try to give myself the best shot at getting one I want!

Personally, I make sure I avoid making the following 6 blunders when applying for all of my internships, and you can’t deny that it really does seem to be paying off. Take note guys, avoid making these bloopers, and you’ll land that dream internship in no time. 


 

1. Not Applying For Enough Internships

I like to keep my options open and apply for as many internships as possible. Now I don’t mean apply for just any old internship. I decide the type of internship I want or the area I want to gain experience in and then apply for any internship opportunities that match what I’m looking for. It’s all about being strategic guys and making sure you give yourself the best chance of getting what you want.

Like I already said, the internship market is competitive, so don’t limit yourself by only applying for one or two jobs. You know what they say – if you aren’t in it, you can’t win it! That one internship you don’t apply for, could be the very one that was made for you. 

resume2. Using The Same Resume And Cover Letter For Every Job

Using the exact same resume and cover letter to apply for every job is one of the biggest and laziest mistakes you can make. If you really want to get that internship, you have to show the employer that you are the right candidate for the job. If you just submit a generic resume and cover letter that isn’t tailored for the exact position, you’re never going to be successful.

Do your homework, and make sure you research the company before you send in your application. You should use your cover letter to show you know the company and to explain why you think you are the perfect person for the job. Ideally your cover letter should be used to make you stand out from all of the other people who applied for the job, so make the most of it. 

3. Spelling And Grammar Mistakes

Another lazy point, and one of the biggest reasons people are unsuccessful for jobs, are spelling and grammar mistakes. Many companies automatically eliminate resumes and cover letters that have mistakes. You need to think of these materials as being the first impression you are making on the company, so anything less than perfection just isn’t acceptable!

Make sure you proof read both your resume and cover letter before you submit your application too. Of course my spelling is always perfect, but just to be sure I always get one or two other people to look over it before I press send. Sometimes when you spend so long looking at something it becomes hard to see even the simplest mistakes.

4. Not Following The Company’s Instructions

When you’re applying for a job, you need to remember that every company is different, and this also applies to their job application process.

Depending on the size of the company, they will probably have their own set of procedures and instructions that you should follow when applying for a position.  Make sure you follow these instructions carefully. One company may just want you to complete an application, while another may want you to submit a resume and cover letter.

If you don’t follow the company’s specific job application requirements, you could easily find yourself in the “no pile” regardless of whether or not you are the best person for the job. 

iphone with app icons5. Not Censoring Social Media

Social media is pretty much a way of life for every intern these days. While it can offer us many great features and benefits, it can also have it’s downsides.

Sure social media allows us to keep in touch with friends and family, but it also makes it super easy for potential employers’ to find you online to get some additional information about you before you even meet. Any inappropriate/ unprofessional images should be removed or made secure with privacy settings.

Believe it or not, your social presence and how you conduct yourself online can be a major deciding factor for employers’ when hiring future employees’, so wise up and lock down your profiles.

See our top tips for cleaning up your social media act.

6. Not Following Up

One of the biggest mistakes interns can make when applying for jobs is not following up with the company to check the status of their application.

Just because you have applied for an internship and sent in your resume and cover letter, doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax until one falls into your lap. Remember… you’re probably not the only person applying for the job.

The company could potentially have hundreds of resumes to process and review, so it’s very easy for your application to get lost in the clutter. This is where following up comes into play and I always make sure I follow up with that personal touch. When you call or email a company after you have applied for an internship, you’re showing them how interested you are in job and hopefully they will take notice. It’s worth a shot… you’ve got nothing lose!


Avoiding these 6 mistakes will definitely give you a much better chance of being considered for at least one of the internships you want. Like I already said, employers get hundreds of applications and they are just looking for a reason to say no to you. Be smart (like me) and don’t give them one!

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