The Internship Chronicles: Finding and Securing Tech Internships
If you are reading this, I’m assuming you are currently in the process of trying to secure a tech internship. Before we go any further, let me give you background on myself and my experience with internships. My name is Bailey Hand and I am currently the Customer Success and Growth Coordinator at Slate. I graduated from Auburn University with degrees in Marketing and Global Studies before continuing my studies at Vanderbilt University where I graduated with a Masters of Marketing.
About two years ago, I was in your position. Combing through what seemed like a never-ending feed of internship postings on LinkedIn and a handful of other websites, I was feeling overwhelmed and somewhat defeated feeling like none of them were right for me (and remote, as this was right at the beginning of COVID where most offices were shut down).
Through a program that I was in I was connected with Will Brooke, Slate’s COO and co-founder, who showed us the Slate platform and from there I fell in love with the company. I really believed in the product and how the company was solving their customers’ problems. After that meeting, I applied for an internship that Slate had recently posted, connected with Will on LinkedIn, and attended a new webinar series they had just launched, to learn more about the company. After going through a round of interviews, I was asked to join the Slate team for the summer and I was over the moon!
I ended up interning with the company for a year, before moving to a full-time role after finishing grad school. It has been an exhilarating, challenging, and immensely rewarding experience where I’ve grown both professionally and personally, and developed incredible relationships with team members that push me to bring the best version of myself each day – and it all started with an internship! As you navigate through this stage in your career, I hope you operate with an open mind and find as much value in your internship experiences as I have!
Finding an Internship
Starting an internship search can feel daunting and unmanageable, especially as we move into a more digital world where remote job postings become more and more common. It can seem overwhelming to narrow down which internships you should apply to that are a good fit for both you, as the applicant, and the companies that you’re looking at.
Go into this process with an open-mind. You may have your heart set on securing an internship with a global athletic wear brand, but there may be a smaller start-up company that you may not have heard of before, where can have a much larger impact and more opportunities to grow. LinkedIn and other job sites like Indeed, have great search tools that can help you narrow down your results and identify listings that match your skillset, professional experience and desired industries. While you may have an idea of what exactly you want to do, I would encourage you to explore all of the options that you feel you would be qualified for and to not be too strict about finding an internship in an extremely specific industry. You may end up somewhere that is completely different that what you envisioned but is the best fit for you! I personally never even considered working in Tech before Slate but can’t picture myself anywhere else.
Making your application stand out
Just like the overwhelming amount of job postings, there is also an unprecedented amount of extremely qualified applicants across industries, which means you have to find ways to stand out amongst the application pool.
When preparing your application, be sure to be direct and concise about your experience. Applications that stand out are those that get straight to the point and are easily understood. Before submitting your resume and cover letter, be sure that the information is catered to the tech internship you are applying for and include any experiences that are relevant to the responsibilities identified in the job description. Don’t forget to PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD. With large applicant pools, many hiring managers will immediately pass up on resumes that have typos or are hard to read.
While it may feel a bit weird and uncomfortable at first, reaching out to an employee or recruiter at companies you are applying to can have a massive impact on your visibility as an applicant. I would recommend starting with recruiters and then moving to employees that might be on your team if you ended up joining the company. Reaching out can be as simple as a LinkedIn message introducing yourself, the position you’re interested in and adding “I am really interested in learning more about the company and your experience.” This communicates not only that you are excited about the opportunity, but also that you are also willing to go above and beyond to research and invest in your journey with that company. If someone offers to set up a call to chat with you, always take that opportunity! This is an undivided time where you can ask questions, learn more about the internship, and communicate your desire to be a part of the team!
So you are at the point where you have submitted your application and you have been contacted for an interview. Congrats! This is a big step and you should be extremely encouraged by any company’s decision to move forward by having you interview.
To prepare for interviews, I research interview questions that are specific to the role and industry of the company that I’m interviewing for and formulate answers to those questions. While this may seem like a lot of work on the front end, it will help you to feel confident and prepared going into the interview which will catch the attention of your interviewer.
At the end of almost every interview, the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions for them. This is a great opportunity for you to show your commitment to the role and the interview process. Here is an article I would recommend where you can find ideas of questions to ask during the interview but a quick Google search should pull up plenty of options to get ideas of standard end-of-interview questions!
My biggest piece of advice for interviews is to be yourself! You have established yourself as a qualified candidate through your application and now interviewers want to see that you are a good fit for their company.
If you found this helpful, be sure to follow Slate on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and LinkedIn where you can stay up to date on the next of this series coming out and learn more about social media marketing, the skills you need to succeed and how to navigate your way through building your career!