After finding an internship that you are interested in, be sure to find out what the application requirements are. Generally, application materials include a cover letter/personal statement and a resume/CV. Once your application materials have been reviewed, you may have to participate in an interview as part of the application process. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when navigating the internship application process.
Being prepared to speak with supervisors, either at an interview or on the job, means being knowledgeable and up-to-date about the position and the organization. Make sure you know everything you need to know about such a position before writing a cover letter or walking into an interview. Knowing a lot about the position and the organization is an indicator of your strong intention to work there—it says you want to be there and have done your homework. Here are a few tips:
- Research the job/position description and be prepared speak at-length about it
- Research the organization as a whole, know exactly what the organization does and how you would fit into that mission
- Use the organization’s website, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other associated sites to stay as current as possible with their events/initiatives
- Research the company, their mission statement, business plan, and values. Decide how you fit into the organization in these respects, and how will you contribute to the mission.
- Know exactly what you are getting yourself into; research as much as you can where it is located, how many employees work there, what the environment is like, what is expected of someone working in the position you are applying for, etc.
- Practice talking at-length about how you are a good fit for the organization
- Prepare questions for the interviewer(s) that are specific to the organization and the position you are applying for. Ask about working conditions, over-arching goals of the organization, culture of the workplace, employee morale, etc.
- Practice making connections to your previous work/educational experiences and how they relate to the position you are applying for. Practice speaking at-length about how your qualifications prepare you to be a successful, contributing member of the organization’s team.
Most employers are checking your internet history, including any accounts you may have on social media sites. It is important that in these capacities, you are either completely professional or non-existent. Too many students have lost valuable opportunities because of foolish decisions when posting to online sites.
Remember the following:
- Change your username, re-organize your profile, make your profile private, or completely delete your FaceBook profile.
- Delete any inappropriate pictures online. These include anything that may present you in negative manner.
- Change your username, re-organize your profile, make your profile private, or completely delete your Instagram/Finsta (fake instagram), Snapchat, Tumblr, Pinterest, YickYack, Life Journal, Google+, any inappropriate blogs, Twitter, MySpace, Bebo, Twitter, Friendster, etc.
- You may want to change your username, re-organize your profile, make your profile private, or completely delete any popular dating apps, especially if they are location-dependent. Such apps include Tinder, Grindr, Bumble, etc.
- You may not even be invited to an interview if your potential employer finds photographs or other text that reflects poorly on you. You may never even know the reason why you were not invited for an interview/position.
Pick an Outfit
- DO NOT DRESS CASUALLY
- No jeans
- Wear shoes, not sandals
- For boys, wear a shirt and tie, dress pants/slacks
- For girls, wear a longer dress, pant suit, or a nice blouse with nice pants
- Make sure your clothes are ironed
- DO NOT WEAR ANYTHING THAT COULD BE CONSIDERED RISQUE
- Have faculty in your department, friends, or family interview you with mock interview. Find someone who is willing to simulate an interview and provide you with an authentic experience. Practice how you play: practice interviewing as if you are actually at the interview.
- Write yourself difficult interview questions that you may not know how to answer, then construct answers for them. Research common interview questions and respond to them. Be prepared to talk about your weaknesses as well as your strengths.
- Video tape (if possible) yourself and your responses so that you may be able to see how you appear to others. Take note of your body language and how you interact when speaking.
Confirm the location, time, and date of the interview and do not forget. Make sure you know how to get there
- Make sure you know where you are going and how to get there.
- Make appropriate adjustments to make sure you have transportation to and from the interview.
Bring important documents/information with you
- Print out the job description, your Resume/CV, Cover Letter/Statement of purpose, and anything that will help you be successful in the interview (lists of related accomplishments/extracurricular activity).
- Bring something to write on (pad, notebook, etc.) and something to write with.
Prepare Questions for the Interviewers
- Prepare at least two questions for your interviewers
- Arrive early: if you arrive on-time you are already late
- Introduce yourself to everyone, shake their hand and clearly state your name and be polite, say things like “it’s a pleasure to meet you,” “thank you for this opportunity”, “I am grateful to be here”
- Speak clearly and project your voice.
- If there are multiple people at the interview, make sure that you speak to everyone. Cycle your field of view between each of the people there, and make eye contact.
- Respond respectfully to each question and wait for the interviewer to finish asking the question.
- Be authentic, focused, confident, candid, and concise.
- Walk and sit up straight, remember, your body language is very important
Follow-up with the interviewer(s). Contact them to thank them for their time and for the opportunity. Make sure this email is written professionally and is free of any errors.