It’s game time, so make sure your head’s in it. How are YOU staying ahead of the competition and showing them you’re the boss who’s going to take them down? Let’s get you ready; the fight is coming.
I know you’re not a mind reader or a magician, but in order to always be a step ahead, you need to be able to predict what a recruiter, hiring manager or potential employer wants to see from a candidate. It doesn’t take rocket science or some complicated mathematical formula, but it does require some deep thinking and brainstorming.
First off, why should you even be a step ahead? It will make you prepared for anything. To be a good leader, intern, employee or basically any role in life, you need to be prepared for every situation. Be quick on your feet; it will make you an asset. I swear by preparedness – it will get you everywhere in life. It shows how you think ahead, plan and organize.
Being a step ahead is actually really simple. You have to figure out what your end goal is and how to get there. Trying to get an internship at a non-profit? Figure out what skills you need for the specific department. Show that you have a passion for the cause by volunteering at events or joining a similar organization on your college campus. Having a connection to the cause won’t get you the internship, but it will show the interviewer that you care. What skills will make you shine in their eyes? What kind of skills could you have that other applicants don’t? Let’s read over that job description and requirement list again. Do you have all of those requirements? What about the preferred or “plus” ones? What are some added skills that would be the cherry on top? Do you know Adobe Creative Suite programs? Final Cut Pro? Back-end coding? Throw all of it at them. Those are valuable skills that not every person has. Is this a graphic design internship? Have you won awards for your designs? Throw that at them too. Think about what information or skills that you possess that would impress. Don’t have these skills? Let’s get you those skills. Get what you want by giving them what they want: an impressive, skillful intern/employee.
This is where the mind reading comes in. It’s about thinking of what skills would be perfect for this position and how to get you those skills. Being a step ahead requires reflection on your part and critical thinking about what skills you lack. Not everyone is tailor made for every single internship or even our dream internships, but it’s your job to make yourself the perfect candidate for any internship you apply to. Show them you’re right for the internship by making a case. Show off what skills you have that they need. Show them how your past experiences have prepared you for this next position. Arming yourself with the necessary skills, especially if you go above and beyond, will set you apart from the rest.
Take a step back and think critically about your experiences, skills and goals. How can you achieve these goals? If you don’t have the needed skills or experiences, get them. Think ahead about what you need to get where you want in life. Take a leap and get ahead.