If you’re in your senior or even junior year of college, you might be thinking of securing an internship within the architectural, engineering and consulting (AEC) industry. An internship is a great way to combine your course studies with hands-on, real-world experience. It will allow you to develop new skills, start networking with key people in the industry and create lasting connections for your career.
To land an internship in the AEC industry, it’s important to be prepared and intentional during every phase of the process. Keep reading for 6 tips on how to land an internship in the AEC industry.
Things to Know Before You Apply for an Internship
1. Do your research
Before you apply for a position, it’s key to understand the internship role and familiarize yourself with the company’s culture, values and mission.
It’s not uncommon for interviewers to ask questions based on their culture or values, so doing your research beforehand will help demonstrate your interest in the company and position. If your research is done efficiently, this should increase your comfort level during the interview as well.
2. Make your resume stands out from the crowd
At this stage in your career, it’s expected not to have much work experience within the AEC industry; therefore, it’s important your resume captures the recruiter’s attention. Focus on your strengths and illustrate why you are the best fit for the internship. A few key elements to include in your resume are:
- Technology skills
- Your cumulative and/or major grade point average
- Community involvement
- Relevant course work
- Internship/Part-time work experience
- Extracurricular Activities/Athletics
- Professional Association Membership
- Leadership experience
3. Go the extra mile and include a cover letter
A cover letter may be required by some internship programs, but even if it is not, it is best practice and highly recommended to upload one with your application.
Think of the cover letter as your elevator pitch—use it to introduce yourself, your interest in the company, why you should be viewed as a top-contender for the internship you’re applying for.
Your cover letter is the perfect place to be direct with the recruiter. At the end of your letter make sure you include a specific call to action. Consider something like this:
I am eager to set a time to speak further about this opportunity and why I would be a good fit. I am available at your convenience, please let me know when you have the availability to meet virtually or in-person.
Things to Know As You Prepare for an Interview
Based on your cover letter and resume, a recruiter will call and/or email to schedule an interview if they feel you are the right fit for the position. Once you have an interview set, it’s time to start preparing so you feel confident when the day arrives.
4. Practice your answers to common interview questions
Whether you’re a pro at interviewing or this is your first interview, take the time to go over how you would answer some of the most common interview questions.
There are multiple free online resources that can help you prepare answers to common interview questions. Make sure you give thought to your answers but also make sure you do not sound too robotic and rehearsed, you want your personality to shine through.
5. Make a list of questions you have about the company or role
You’ll likely have the chance to ask any questions during the interview about the position or the company. It’s best to think of a few questions in advance so you are prepared.
Some questions that could be good to ask are:
- “Can you describe the company’s culture?”
- “What resources will you provide to help me succeed in the position?”
- “Is there an opportunity for an internship extension?
- What is the firm’s track record when it comes to hiring interns as full-time associates?”
- Why did you decide to work for the firm?
- What do you enjoy about your job?
- What are the next steps in the interview process and when can I expect to hear back?
- What is the timeline that you wish to make a hire?
At the end of your interview ask for the business card (or if it’s virtual, a good email address) of the person you interviewed with. You’ll learn why this is important in the next section.
Things to Know After Your Interview
After you nail your interview, there is one final tip that will help you make a great impression and could even help you land the internship.
6. Send a follow-up thank you letter or email
Use the contact information you received during the interview to send a thank you email to the interviewer. In the email reconfirm your interest in the position and the company. This is also a wonderful place to ask if any further information from you is needed or to ask any questions that slipped your mind during the interview.
Pro tip: Bring up something unique or interesting that came up during the interview to further personalize this thank you.
It’s Time for You to Apply for an AEC Internship
If it’s time to gain real-world experience in the AEC industry, use these six tips above to help you land an internship at your dream firm.
If you’re currently searching for the perfect internship opportunities, explore our industry-leading internship program. Our program is designed to support you and your career aspirations by providing hands-on industry experience. You will be mentored by the industry’s best and brightest, get to work on real projects and much more.