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How To Write The Perfect Spec Letter and Get That Internship

How To Write The Perfect Spec Letter and Get That InternshipIt all starts with an e-mail
When it comes to the increasingly competitive job market, everyone knows the more things you can do to differentiate yourself, prove your expertise and passion for your chosen vocation, the better. Interning for a great company is one of the best ways to put meat on your resume but the path to securing that internship can sometimes be fraught.

Here’s a guide to getting employers to notice you and give you the experience that you crave.


Research is KING
Let me say this again. Research is KING. This means that you should never approach a company without thoroughly stalking it online first. This means you have to hit the basics: the big three are obviously the company’s website, their twitter feed and their LinkedIn page.

Once you’ve got all of these up onscreen, your job will be to work out the precise person that you need to talk to and whether or not you’ve already got some kind of professional connection to them. LinkedIn is pretty good at signposting more formal connections (if you haven’t got one, make sure you build yourself a profile, stat) but an even better way to forge connections is to find the twitter feeds beyond the company’s official twitter feed – the accounts of employees. Be brave, follow them, initiate a dialogue.

The important thing here is to be someone worth knowing – bulk your own twitter feed with interesting tidbits related to your mutual professions. Be funny, be personable…above all, be a human. It never hurts to be on a potential colleague’s radar as an interesting, engaged person. You’ll also find that a lot of professionals broadcast when they’re going to industry events. An in-person introduction is always a good thing and if you can arrange to be at relevant professional events, you’ll find that you’ll never have wasted your time.

 Make it easy to root for you
Here’s the thing: as long as you’re not overbearing, by and large, people are happy to help you, especially if you can communicate your enthusiasm and take a lot of the work out of helping you along. Small things like having business cards ready to give out after a fun conversation are really key – you want people to remember your name. People love to give advice so don’t be shy to ask potential colleagues how they managed to get their foot in the door. Be interested in everything and everyone – even if you’ve got your heart set on a particular internship, don’t close your eyes to other potential opportunities or even just to meeting interesting people.

Use all your new connections and knowledge in one powerful email
Now’s the time to write your spec email. With any luck, you’re already on their radar. Make sure you’re writing to the right person – that’s just the kind of networking question you need to address via Twitter – and send a short but enthusiastic email detailing your interest, specific expertise, availability and exactly why you want to intern for them. This last part is especially important and should be easy if you’ve done all the research and networking.

Proving you have a personal connection to the company will stand you in incredibly good stead when they’re considering you. It’s also important, especially when you’re looking at non-profit positions or jobs in charities, that you’re able to notice what they’re missing. Busy NGOs sometimes don’t have time to man an engaging Facebook page for instance. Don’t be shy about putting yourself forward for tasks like this. Seize every opportunity – sometimes the answer will be no. But you only need one ‘yes’ to turn everything around.

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Sam Wright writes about a variety of employment issues especially jobs in charities, non-profits and NGOs. He’s a good sort like that.




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This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 at 8:07 am and is filed under Career, Cover Letters, Interview, Resumes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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Resume Help, Resume Advice. Learn
and avoid these biggest resume mistakes
 
Resume Help, Resume Advice. Learn
and avoid these biggest resume mistakes