When I applied for the InternPlus internship programme, it was the first time I applied for a job in Scotland. As an international student, I didn’t have any previous experience of how internship, or job application processes in general, work in the UK. Therefore, I was not familiar with what employers expect to see in applications, what to expect of the process itself, or how to prepare for the interview. Here are some tips for applying for the InternPlus programme which worked for me!
Showcase your interests and personality in your cover letter. For this internship, I found it essential to discuss my academic interests in the field of politics, equality, and diversity. I found this to be a good way to tie my personal interests and experience in the field, to why I would be a good intern for the team. So not to make it too basic and boring, I presented myself, my personality, and interests first. The work and volunteering experience which I found set me apart from other applicants, I chose to elaborate in depth afterwards. I believe it is important for employers to understand more about the background of the applicant and how they could contribute to the goals of the team.
Try to offer the employer solutions for the project in question to show initiative and motivation. The internship role required conducting personal research and creating content from that. For the cover letter, I decided to do some preliminary research to show what I could offer them as an intern. In this case, that implied finding gaps in existing content and sort of criticising it. In this manner, I was able to offer solutions to the current issues and parts that were lacking. In fact, this part was well over a half of my cover letter.
Prepare for your virtual interview as you would for a normal interview. I was very nervous before the interview because I had never attended a virtual one before. I’m a very social person and I find it easy to connect with people around me. However, virtual calls are very tiring for me and I find it difficult to connect with others. In addition, the interview was a lot more formal than what I was used to. Afterwards, I was disappointed, and I felt like it went really badly. I was intimidated by two interviewers and their questions were a lot more precise than what I would have expected to answer. Thankfully, my flatmate told me that formal and serious interviews are normal in the UK and that my attempts at smiling did not go unnoticed. And she was right!