1.  Start early and cast a wide net

I started a year ago, looking for internships in a wide range of chemical engineering fields, from bio applications to petroleum engineering. I searched for relevant companies everywhere in the United States. I cross-referenced the names of company executives, listed on company websites, with their LinkedIn profiles, and I sent nearly 50 different tailored inMails to company CEOs and heads of R&D, asking for their consideration of me as an intern. Having a LinkedIn Premium subscription really helped me to find and contact the right people. It gave me the opportunity to reach out to professionals I was not connected to and access to everyone who had viewed my profile.

2.  Craft a specific message

Don’t send a generic InMail. I would research each company carefully, read their publications and learn about their business and technology. I tried to keep my message short, introducing myself, demonstrating excitement about the company and technology, and describing how my background would prepare me to contribute as an intern.  I would end each inMail with a request for a phone call, and provide my contact details.

3.  Be persistent

I got more responses after I refined and sent follow-up inMails. This was key. People respond when you demonstrate persistent interest. I got responses from, and followed up with roughly 10 CEOs to chat with them about their work. From these discussions I narrowed my interest to electrochemistry and battery technology.

4.  Tailor your education

Having surfaced my passion for battery technology, I tailored my UCSD classes and sought out a graduate-level course in electrochemistry. That definitely helped to boost my credibility with prospective employers.

5.  Respond timely and be available

My internship opportunities were heating up during a busy time for me at school.  I was able to respond timely using the LinkedIn mobile app. This worked so much better than blindly submitting a resume and cover letter to an opening on a job board.

I hope this approach helps you as it helped me in networking with industry professionals and presenting yourself as a persistent qualified candidate. I’m thrilled to have landed my dream internship at a leading edge technology company called Imprint Energy

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