By: CJ Riggs, @carla_riggs
For anyone who has never interned before (like myself), you have NO clue what to expect, what you will be asked to do or how to come across as intelligent and knowledgeable. From professional tips, to the sticky situations, I am going to lay it all out for you.
First Nail-Biting Part of Summer Internships: Sending Millions of Applications
Once you decide you’re going to apply to your favorite company, keep in mind that each company looks for something unique. Sending a copy and past resume probably won’t appeal to the directors.
Be sure to customize your resume:
- Use their language! (key words they’ve used in their application are a good way to trigger interest)
- Focus on the involvement and experiences that will best market you! (it’s good to include what you do and are involved in, but just be sure to really highlight what you want them to see!)
- Make it personal! (add in a sentence or a couple of key words that allow your personality and character shine through)
Most important tip: NO COMPANY IS OUT OF REACH!!
- Don’t be afraid to apply anywhere. No company is too big or too “good”. An internship is a time for learning and growing.
Second Sweaty-Palm Part of Summer Internships: The Waiting Game
And now, we wait
It can be really tough not to get anxious and overwhelmed if you haven’t heard back by March or April. Do not fear! A lot of employers take their time to get back about interviews, or second interviews.
Tips to staying cool, calm and collected:
- Make a list and check it twice! Keep a running list of where all you have applied to, when their deadline is, who the contact person is and any information on whether or not they have a time frame for hiring.
- Follow Up! If there is an organization you are really looking forward to working with, don’t be afraid to send an email to follow up about application status.
Third Pacing Part of Summer Internships: You’ve Got the Job!
Okay, now you can breathe. You have heard back from a company and THEY LOVE YOU! The hardest part is not wanting to pinch yourself back into reality. Your next step is probably a planning session.
Tips to looking and being the best you:
- Dress for the job you want! Many people know the basics of work-appropriate attire, but what they don’t know is that there is a huge difference between dressing nicely and dressing to make an impression.
- If the employer has ever seen a picture of you, try to wear that same outfit again, RECOGNITION IS KEY!
- If you go on a second interview, wear the same thing OR something very similar. Nobody is going to think you’re gross for wearing the same suit.
- Take extra copies of your resume, work samples and any other material they requested when you applied. (Not always, but sometimes they lose, forget or want to see your material again)
- Write a ‘Thank You’ note. A little bit goes a long way. If it isn’t possible or appropriate to write a ‘thank you’ note, send an email thanking them for their time and express your excitement about the opportunity to meet with them.
Fourth Nervous Laughter Part of Summer Internships: Your First Day
Meeting new people and introducing yourself a million times is to be expected on your first. You may not remember any of their names, but they will know who you are. Start small and know who you work with and for. These are your VIPs when it comes to workforce family.
Tips to learning it and fitting in:
- Even if you don’t know how to do something (something that isn’t a life or death situation) learn it and fit in! It is easy to look up information on basically everything. Don’t know how to use Hootsuite, NO PROBLEMO. There is a wonderful site called Dummies.com that will tell you step by step how to automate your tweet sending.
- Don’t be scared to go to the bathroom or eat lunch. WE ARE ALL HUMAN! Your employer will understand that you need to use the restroom or that you like to eat lunch.
- Always smile! It is harder for your employer to be mad at you for accidentally printing the same page 300 times instead of 30 if you have those pearly whites showing.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY, don’t be afraid to be yourself.