HOW DO I GET AN INTERNSHIP?
This is a question I’ve been asked quite a few times by family members and friends. So, I figured it’s worth writing a blog post to give some tips and advice.
But Alex who are you to give advice?
Good question. I’ve been fortunate to have interned at Fortune 500 companies such as SAP and Discovery Communications. I’ve also interned at Penguin Random House and Citrin Cooperman.
Internships are great for gaining first-hand experience in a career or industry you’re interested in. It is a short-term commitment that allows you to get your foot in the door and learn from experienced professionals.
Now let’s help you get that internship.
First off, you need to find an industry or business field that you’re interested in. It could be communications, programming, marketing, etc. Then, go to job sites such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor and even your college job board page. Check out their job postings and make sure to sign up for new job posts as well (ex. Glassdoor emails me a daily list of 30 internships that might be of interest to me).
If you’ve never had an internship before I'd highly recommend interning at a non-profit organization. You’re most likely going to be an unpaid intern for your first internship so why not help a charity. It looks great on your resume and feels good to help others.
Found an internship that peaks your interest? Great! Now proofread your resume, cross your fingers and hit send.
Remember, companies are getting hundreds of applications so it’s important to apply to multiple positions and not put all your eggs in one basket (On my college job board alone, I’ve sent 118 applications).
And now we wait...
Some companies will reply the next day while others may reply two months later. If you get a response, the first interview will most likely be a 10-30 minute phone interview with HR.
The most important thing to do before an interview is to research the company. Read their mission statement and company values. Find out why the company was created, who was the founder and who is the CEO.
But don't stop there, check out the company's product or services. Look through their social media pages to get a feel for company culture. Also, remember to check the LinkedIn profile of everyone that will be a part of the interview.
Go to GlassDoor to learn about the company's culture and review interviews from other people that applied to the same company.
During the phone interview, have your resume in front of you along with the company's job application. Have a pen and paper to jot down notes. Be professional and polite. Ask questions at the end of the interview.
Remember to send a Thank-You Note within 24 hours of your interview. This applies to both virtual and physical interviews!
Hopefully things went well and you're invited for an in-person interview. Once again, research the company's department that you're applying for and the person that will be interviewing you.
Now, follow every cliché you've ever heard:
- Wake up early and eat a healthy breakfast.
- Bring copies of your resume.
- Assume there will be delays in your commute and aim to walk in 15 minutes before the interview start time.
- Dress appropriately and make sure your clothes are clean and ironed.
- Turn off your cell phone and don't chew gum.
- Smile, say hello and give a firm handshake.
- If they offer a drink, just ask for water (It's a job interview, not Starbucks)
- At the end of the interview thank the person for their time and shake their hand.
-Write a Thank-You email for each person that spent time interviewing you.
After a couple of days, you should get an email from HR asking to set up a time to talk. HR will discuss the salary and other information regarding the position and if you accept, they will email you an official offer.
Congratulations! All your hard work paid off and you landed the internship!
If for some reason you didn't get the job offer, don't stress out. Reflect on the interview process and ask yourself what you did well and what you could've done better. View it as a positive experience because even though you didn't get the position, it was good practice and will make you better prepared for your next interview.
Written by Alex Wiec.
For more job advice, I'd highly recommend getting the book: