’tis the season (for internship opportunities!)
I believe I write a post similar to this each year. Here’s one from 2011!
If you’ve read it before, feel free to share with current students or recent graduates who could benefit. If you haven’t, feel free to learn some do’s and dont’s when reaching out to a potential employer.
When applying for an internship, it’s important to remember that you are selling your skills, expertise and work ethic to benefit the employer. The employer does not exist solely to give you a job opportunity. With this in mind:
Position yourself as a resource
- DO explain how your education, part-time job or previous internship can apply directly to helping the company. For example: “At my part-time job, I have to keep a database of customers updated and even came up with an idea on how we could track their purchases – to make their shopping experience easier.”
- DON’T tell me how you think Full Circle Public Relations would be a fun place to work and would help get your foot in the door with other agencies after graduation.
Know a little bit about the company
- DO read the company’s blog, follow some company employees on Twitter, comment on a LinkedIn post or something that allows you to interact with or learn from the company’s team – that shows you know how to perform simple research skills and implement them in a proactive way.
- DON’T go into any interaction – via telephone interview, informational interview, etc. – blindly. It’s pretty obvious when candidates aren’t even familiar with what our company does.
- DO bring your resume, be ready to recap your history and what you’re looking for in a career – and be prepared to take notes in case you are asked follow up questions about the company or even asked to do a little assignment to showcase your skills
- DON’T arrive without a pen, paper, resume, etc. An interview is not a conversation – it’s a stepping stone to a job so it’s important to be prepared! (For example, Hannah – an FCPR intern-turned-fulltime employee – came prepared with recent writing assignments, a resume, a calendar and even more. Plus, she aced a mini-clip report assignment on our first meeting!)
- DO change your voicemail greeting to one that conveys a professional tone – act like you’ve already been hired for your dream job!
- DON’T keep a cutesy voicemail – I don’t want to hear “Hey, this is ___. I know you’re sorry you missed me – but leave your digits and if you’re lucky I’ll call you back!” Editors Note: I will NOT call you back.
It’s easy to see what kind of effort candidates put into their job pursuits. Follow a few of our Do’s and I’ll bet you’ll land that internship in no time.