Most candidates fail to distinguish themselves from others, except where mistakes are concerned. This can happen specially in the first researches for the perfect job, when doing application for an internship. Time and time again companies see applicants falling into the same traps during the recruitment process. Don’t let this be you. So, make sure you fully prepare your internship application and avoid these 5 common mistakes at all costs:
When doing an application for an internship, one CV fits all
If I perfect one CV, I can apply to multiple offers and eventually get the internship I want right? Wrong. Sending companies one generic CV is a complete waste of time both for you and them. Imagine sending a marketing recruiter a resume highlighting your ‘unique ability to sell products’ that you tried to pitch to a sales company last week. Funnily enough, they’re not interested.
In fact, companies receive so many CVs for a position that they tend to scan each one for just a few seconds (send link to 6 seconds article). So the way to capture their attention is by really targeting the company, explaining why you’re applying specifically to them and why you would be a good fit.
You should try to create 2 or 3 versions of your resume that focus on the sectors you’re applying to. That way you can easily adapt them to suit a specific position, highlighting key skills that will interest recruiters. You want to show them what you, as a young professional, can bring to the company. So, do yourself a favour – research the company thoroughly and adapt your CV accordingly before applying. Give yourself the best chances of reaching the next stage.
Applications can be filled in last minute
We know, you’re busy, you have other deadlines and internship applications aren’t your idea of fun. But let’s be realistic: giving yourself a small amount of time to complete an application is never a good idea. You’re bound to sacrifice the quality of at least one aspect when doing your intership application, whether it be your CV, cover letter, or the final review before your send it. Most of the time, last minute candidates tend to neglect this vital final stage. But the truth is, no matter how great the content of your application may be, if you make spelling and grammar mistakes you will not be successful.
Attention to detail really is key. In fact, candidates have lost out on internships just by misreading the instructions of the recruitment process and not attaching all the necessary information. Don’t let this be you. When it comes down to deciding between candidates with the same achievements and experiences, companies have to be ruthless. So make sure to send your application to a friend or family member to proofread – it never hurts to get a second opinion ☺
Doing an application for an internship below my capability increases my chances of success
Well, truth be told, applying for an internship that doesn’t suit your profile whatsoever is a complete waste of time. You may also be under the impression that the easier the job, the more likely they are to hire you. Don’t be fooled. Companies care about win-win situations when hiring a new employee – it should be a balance between what’s in it for them AND for you. They have no interest in recruiting an over-qualified candidate who will get bored, lack motivation and leave as soon as they find a better option. And, on the off chance they do hire you, you have to think: what are you truly going to learn from an internship that doesn’t challenge you? How are you going to motivate yourself to get out of bed and go to work if you’re doing the same, monotonous tasks day in, day out?
We do internships to gain valuable and relevant experience, helping us to grow and drive towards our career goals. So think carefully about what you really want to do, and give the application process your all.
OR, just as bad: you think it’s ok to invent experiences or skills to fit the job criteria
Please don’t. Ever. There is nothing worse for a recruiter than feeling as though you’re taking them for a ride. We all know how easy it is to exaggerate your experiences so a company will be more attracted to your profile. But companies have reviewed so many applications – they can immediately recognize when a candidate is bending the truth. So while you should of course challenge yourself and aim for the best internships, you mustn’t exaggerate your capability. Ask yourself what you will gain from doing an aplplication for a an internship for a position that requires fluent French when you gave it up in high school.
Even if they do hire you, they’ll soon work out that you don’t have this level and you’re not the right fit for the role. It’s a no-win situation – they’ll gain nothing by hiring you and definitely won’t invest time into training you. Be realistic about your capabilities and be transparent about what you need or hope to gain from your experience. It may take longer to find exactly what you want but you will certainly thank yourself in the long run.
If I fit on paper, I can just show off my experiences and that will be enough
So many candidates spend time trying to convince companies that they’re right for the role simply by listing their achievements and experiences. But let’s be honest, if you’ve got an interview, companies already know you’re skilled enough for the position. What they want to see now is if your personality will suit the company, if you’d fit their culture.
Never forget that most of the time, companies would rather hire a less qualified candidate with a great personality than someone who matches the role perfectly but not the company. Think: skills can be taught easily, your character cannot. We know interviews are stressful, but you really must be yourself. Your individuality will be refreshing and they’ll be much more likely to remember their conversation with you.
So now you know it all. I’m sure there are plenty of other mistakes you can make in the application process (link to Meryl’s details article), but try to at least avoid the 5 listed above. Best of luck for your internship search!
Prepare and perfect your application material now to land the best internship opportunity