Graduate and internship applications: a step by step guide

You’re facing the dreaded “grad [or internship] applications” time of your life. The time of your life where you actually have to start thinking about what you are going to do after you finish University (in order to pay off your HECs loan and/or keep your parents happy….).

grad applications
Don’t worry, it’s not that scary.

Now before we start, recall that an ‘internship’ is essentially 1-3 months of work experience in a formal or informal program, within a specific firm. Whereas a ‘graduate (grad) role’ refers to your first full time job after you finish University. 

The application process is pretty much the same, except that applying for an internship would usually be done in your penultimate year (the year before your last year at University) while a graduate role is in your final year.

Step One: Choosing your Industry and Firm

When facing any job application it is much easier when you know what industry(s) interest you. Is it banking, consulting, marketing, beauty, journalism? To find out what each industry actually does and what working in them would be like, check out a few of our Day in The Life(s) here and Industry Briefs. To find out even more sign up to your University’s careers page and attend the firms presentations. Not only will you get some cool freebies but you will get an insight into the firm, the work they do, and the type of person that works there! And remember, if you like the firm and want to work there, take notes! You can then tailor your cover letter accordingly.

Step Two: Reach out to Social Contacts

Find out if you know anyone who works there currently or has worked there/interned there in the past. This step is not a necessity. BUT it is always great to know someone in the firm or hear a first hand account of someone who did work there – they can tell you what it is like to actually work there; what the culture is like; whether they have a great kitchen with endless snacks or whether the office has a vending machine dispersing tech related accessories*. They will also be able to tell you if the firm looks for any particular values, traits or skills in its employees (i.e. the firm places great importance on their Monday night touch football competition… And you just happen to be a master touch player….).

Step Three: Prepare your Cover Letter and Resume

For a very thorough outline of how to really structure and write both your Cover Letter and CV see here. However, what is most important in this stage is tailoring your cover letter to the opportunity. Research the firm; find their ‘buzz’ words and integrate them into your application. Align the values of the firm to an activity/achievement you have had in your life. For example, if the firm is ‘action oriented’; draw a parallel between that time you created a sculpture out of paper mache for your University Society’s O-Week to ensure you were differentiated from the other finance societies**. And subtly mention that you play touch football (see example above)! Most importantly, make sure you tailor each application accordingly. Do not simply swap the name of the firms, a reader can always tell a very generic application! When you get the interview, that extra hour will be worth it. 

Step Four: Send to Firms (Apply)

Whatever you do, double, triple check that you are sending the right application to the right firm, and that you have addressed it correctly. And that you have saved it as a PDF – this looks much more professional and you can make sure of the formatting!

See, that wasn’t so hard was it! And yes, your next step is getting the role, which means facing an interview. Luckily here at ENID, we love interviews – check out our tips here.

*True story. The Spotify office in NYC has the coolest and ‘techiest’ vending machine ever. So very trendy.

**No, this is not true. However it should be.

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