Crisp black suits, ties, polished shoes, and leather portfolios – this has been the scenery in my office for the past few months. With the holiday season fast approaching, so are internship application deadlines! If you are planning to complete an internship next summer, now is the best time to start looking, applying and interviewing for these positions. Most employers recruit in the fall for the following summer’s interns. If you haven’t thought about an internship yet, now is the time! As full-time jobs become more competitive, more and more students are completing at least one, if not two, internships before they graduate, in order to set themselves apart. Here are a few tips to help as you start to apply and interview for internships:
1. First impressions are crucial.
This begins when you first submit a resume and cover letter all the way to how you dress for the interview. Make sure you have your resume and cover letter reviewed by a career services professional. You don’t want a spelling or grammatical error to ruin your chances for an interview. Furthermore, when you arrive for an interview, make sure you are dressed the part. Business professional is always recommended. If you are not dressed professionally for an interview, this may hinder your opportunities for securing an internship.
2. Practice your interviewing skills.
Practice your handshake and introduction. Take the time to pause and think through how you will communicate your answers in a direct and concise way. Make sure to draw on past experiences to use as specific examples when answering interview questions.
3. Prepare questions to ask.
The interview is not only about the recruiter interviewing you, but it is also an opportunity for you to interview them. Asking questions in the interview will give you a good sense of if you are a good fit for the company, and if your values align with the company values. In advance, make sure to write down big-picture questions regarding company culture and environment. This will show the recruiter that you show sincere interest and that you have done your research. Remember, do not ask any questions related to salary, vacation holidays or other benefits in the first interview. These questions should be addressed at a later time.
4. Don’t forget to follow up.
There is something so meaningful about sending a thank you note. Although handwritten thank you notes are more personal, it is appropriate to send an email thank you if the company is wanting to make a fast decision. Be sure to ask for business cards from each interviewer so you have the correct contact information.