In college, the gateway to a potential career goes by one name: internship. Internships are the bread and butter of “hands on” experience. They typically add insight on a specific job field, and give you a chance to highlight what you’ve learned over the years. The problem is that most internships are very selective, which makes preparation that much more important.
Building up a resume
Treat an internship like a job because ultimately, it will result in some sort of job placement after college. The first task you have to tackle is the application process. When filling out an application, take the opportunity to brand yourself and look well-rounded.
Employers are looking to create a very friendly working environment, and they’ll want those who are qualified but are also social. Computer science major Shashank Golla recently interned with Nielsen and said that preparation outside of your curriculum is a very big part of the process. “It’s definitely good to be active in at least some aspects of your campus. Not only does it help with networking, but you develop a good social base, which shows intern recruiters you can juggle the rigorous curriculum that college offers and still be able to partake in other activities.” Campus involvement shows leadership skills by highlighting your character and what matters to you.
Believe it or not, most people mess up in the interview because they focus on impressing the interviewers instead of on the job itself. Research the company offering the internship, what its goals are, what standards it tries to uphold and its mantra. “Many internships like to throw in those hidden bio questions to see if you really are passionate about the internship and company. Behavioral questions come up quite frequently, and they use those to really pinpoint what type of person you are,” Golla said.
Don’t forget the little things. Oftentimes, applicants get so wrapped up in the informational process of preparing for an interview that the essentials are forgotten. Have a resume on hand because more than likely, the questions will be based off of what is on that piece of paper. And don’t stress yourself out to the point that you look like a deranged junkie when you show up at the interview. Get a good night’s rest the night before, stop by your local barber or hair dresser and, above all else, dress to impress.
Knowing yourself helps you put the icing on the cake when it comes to landing an internship. Recruiters like someone who is sure of himself and his capabilities; it shows maturity and that you mean business. A lot of questions are geared toward the type of person you are and whether you can deal with pressure or if you fold under it. “Personality definitely shines through above a lot of things while getting interviewed. You are trying to get them to know you in a very short period of time, and there is no way of doing that by being shy and timid. Who knows, sometimes an interview can turn into more of a conversation, and that’s when you know you’ve made a lasting impression,” said Golla.
And remember that the interview isn’t just about proving that you’re the perfect candidate, take the time to ask questions and make sure the internship is the right fit for you. It’s good to remember that every internship offered to you isn’t one to accept. Be selective. This is your time to solidify the direction you want to go in; there’s no point in doing something that you don’t love.