Finding an internship can be stressful and oftentimes a little overwhelming. However, for most degrees they are required and are a great way to gain useful, real-world knowledge that can be applied to future jobs. We’ve
compiled some of our own advice for finding, landing and being successful in the perfect internship for you.
Finding an internship:
•Utilize your school's career services office!
Often colleges and universities work with local and non-local companies to help students find internships and opportunities that will be beneficial to them. Do not be afraid to set up a meeting with a career coach to better direct you in your search for a great internship!
•Look in your neighborhood!
There are businesses all around that are always looking for help. Is there a local non-profit nearby? Or a company based in your town? Ask if they offer internships; It never hurts, and they will most likely say yes! Working for a smaller business can provide a more personalized experience. Everything you do will be on a slightly smaller scale, which allows for plenty of learning space.
Research internships in your area, and utilize the many internship and job websites out there. Internships.com, LinkedIn, and others are a few great outlets to search through dozens, sometimes hundreds, of job and internship opportunities.
Before the Interview:
•Do your research!
Knowing information such as the history of the company, any major achievements, and information about your interviewer will help the interview go smoothly and show them you are prepared! If you do not know who you will be interviewing with, ask while scheduling!
Develop and rehearse your elevator speech. Predict and practice answering questions your interviewer might ask. If you already have an idea of what you are going to say, you will be more confident in your interview!
•Be on time!
Leave for your interview with plenty of time in case you get lost or need to find parking. Map out a way to get to your interview location easily and efficiently. Know how long it will take to get there. If you get stuck in traffic or underestimate the distance or amount of travel time, call your interviewer and let them know. They will appreciate the notice, and your late arrival will not leave a bad impression.
•Courtesy is key!
Acknowledge others on your way in. Smile, hold the door and conduct yourself in a professional manner. You never know who you are coming in contact with! The more you know the better. Whether it is knowing who you are
interviewing with, where you are going, or the company’s mission, the more information you have the better the interview experience. In past experiences, I always made sure I gave myself enough time to get to the interview location, and ensured my professional goals fit with those of the company. - Elaine
At the Interview:
•Be proud of what you have accomplished!
Develop a list before the interview of all the things you learned from your previous work experience and how it applies to the position you are interviewing for now. Sometimes your previous jobs don’t seem like much, but don’t be afraid to highlight everything you learned. It doesn’t matter if it was simply customer service or if you were in charge of a major project, all of your experience counts - talk about it!
•Relax! You’ve got this. The interviewers are people too, and they want to hire someone just as much as you want the job. Be conversational, polite, and enthusiastic. Personability goes a long way.
Thank your interviewer, and tell them you look forward to hearing from them.
After the Interview:
•Send a thank you letter!
Try to hand write the letter if you are not on a time constraint; It adds a personal touch. Touch on any important topics that were covered. If you don’t have the time or resources for a handwritten letter, send a quick email
thanking them for their time and consideration.
•It is not over!
Conduct yourself on the way out - the same way you did entering the interview. Greet others on your way out, and leave a lasting impression!
At the Internship:
•Congratulations! You’ve landed the internship - now embrace every opportunity. Courtesy is still key, continue to be on time, and try to make connections with fellow employees.
•Offer to Help!
Put your experience, education, and knowledge to use. If there are small projects volunteer your efforts to help out.
You’re there to learn, so ask questions about everything. Example: When Opportunity House’s development team mentioned a system they had in place or previous experiences with things that worked or didn’t work for staying organized for the events they host, we asked them to explain the situation to us. At one point, Erin volunteered to help with an infographic, and we have both offered to help wherever we are needed. Lending a hand gives you a chance to be involved and will help you see and learn as much as possible while with the company.Good luck!
- Elaine & Erin