The type of work experience you really want is within reach, so let’s get started…
1. Research your chosen industry and get to know how this industry works in New Zealand and regionally.
2. Ask yourself: Who are the local businesses you'd like to intern with? Who might be willing to take you on? Do you need to work with someone in particular?
E.g. Domestic Maritime Crewing students need supervision from a qualified Skipper. A great first step would be making a list of local maritime employers and the names of skippers who can pass down the knowledge required.
3. Make a list of three to five possibilities. These are the people and/or places you will focus on next.
4. There are two main ways to approach those on your list: In person or via email. Either way you will need to create a covering letter and CV.
5. Be clear about what you are looking for. How many weeks does the internship need to be? How many hours in total? When are you available? What are your goals for the internship? What are the academic requirements of your study programme?
E.g. Domestic Maritime Crewing students must complete a minimum of 12 weeks in their chosen placement and complete a training record book in order to gain certification and apply for a license.
6. Tell them what you have to offer. You may not have any formal qualifications, but remember to list your strengths – e.g. fast learner, reliable, hard working.
7. Always be truthful. Being honest about where you are at, and being willing to work to get the experience to get where you want to be, is a real strength. Don't stretch the truth in your resume either! Not a good look.
8. Proof read. Get someone you trust to read over your letter and resume and make sure there are no spelling mistakes. A careless resume is a real turn off for potential employers and the same can also be said for intern supervisors.
9. Presentation matters. Make sure you show up for your interview on time and dress appropriately for the situation.
10. Be prepared to answer questions and have a copy of your resume with you just in case they ask for it.
Your programme coordinator might have a list of businesses that advertise NZ-based graduate jobs who may be willing to take you on short-term. Many coordinators will also have a support structure in place for internships so feel free to get in touch with them if you feel stuck.
For more general questions about cover letters and CVs contact Learner Services.
Nelson and Marlborough businesses are generally very friendly and approachable – it’s one of the many great things about studying in the Nelson Tasman region.
You've got this!