InternPlus Insights: My top tips for making a successful application

InternPlus Insights: My top tips for making a successful application
2021-02-19

Fourteen students are currently undertaking the InternPlus internship programme, working part-time in a number of University departments for a total of 12 weeks. As part of their internships they will be giving us an insight into different aspects of the programme and the jobs they are doing.

Our next insight into the InternPlus programme is from Natalia, who is currently working with Student Support to help Windening Access students. Here she gives you her top tips for applications and the attitude you need to secure the role you want.

Natalia says:

The key to a successful application is striking a balance between meeting the formal requirements and making it as personal as possible. I came to this conclusion after applying to numerous internship openings at uni and elsewhere during the pandemic panic that happened to coincide with my last year panic. Eventually, I was successful in securing a Widening Access Student Support internship as a part of the InternPlus programme, so I must have done something right. Here’s five top tips that might help you when it comes to making applications:

1) Find a template

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Find good CV and covering letter templates to help you with structure and formatting. I used the ones provided on the Careers and Employability Service website. You can also start with your pre-existing CV if you have one.

Make sure your CV and cover letter include the correct information, have the same font and are easy to read. For more informaiton on how to write your CV and cover letter check out this Mini Career Course.

2) Tailor your application to the job description

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Here’s where the personal aspect comes into play. I worked closely with the job description showing how my experience matched the required and desired skills listed. I highlighted them as I read the job description and then used the key words in my writing. I also tweaked the wording of my work and volunteering responsibilities and achievements on my CV to reflect better what the recruiters were looking for.

When writing your cover letter, it’s good to answer these questions: Who am I? Why do I want this position? What can I bring to it? What will I get out of it? Why should they select me?

My main 'selling point' was that I worked on a similar project with Shelter Scotland as a volunteer and wanted to challenge myself by taking on a more active and responsible role.

3) Show confidence

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Believe it or not, but this piece of advice changed my application game.

At the beginning of our professional journey, it may seem like we don’t have too much to offer. If you’re anything like me, you may be quite self-critical when evaluating your skills and achievements. But it’s important to show confidence that you have the necessary skills and that you can get the job done. If you don’t believe it to be true, then why would anyone else?

Confidence is a skill that can be learned by projecting. Use adjectives like good, excellent, in-depth, detailed and thorough to describe your skills and knowledge, and back it up with examples. Do not fret, these are not absolute values, and no one expects you to be an expert at this stage in your career, it simply means that your skills are excellent for someone in your position.

4) Ask for feedback

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Ask your friends and family to give you feedback. Another great idea is to have your application reviewed by a Careers Adviser. I went for both options and then ran a spell check just to make sure that everything was on point!

5) Keep your spirits up!

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Even if you aren't successful on this occasion, practice makes perfect. You can always ask the recruiter for feedback and try again next time.

Remember that a negative response doesn't reflect on your skills or potential. I applied to the InternPlus programme three times before I was selected. Use this time to work on your skills and experience to make your application better next time. Keep on trying!

Published by Students, University of Aberdeen

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