Posted tagged ‘economy’

How to find a summer internship: three MUSTs

February 14, 2010

Three must BEs for securing a summer internship:

  1. Be humble
  2. Be confident
  3. Be thankful

Be humble.  This economy has many employers concentrating on keeping business alive–not always the best time to develop new internship programs. But companies are still doing it—offering their time and experience to help prepare the future workforce.  In brighter times, internships were typically considered a form of corporate community service—taking the time to prepare America’s young adults for a multitude of careers. Then, a hiring manager might have expected an interviewing intern to ask the question, “What will this internship do for me?”  But these are different times and being humble will serve you well.  By Humble, I mean your focus should be on ‘what you can do for them, NOT what they can do for you.’

Be confident. Being confident means believing you are worth a company’s time. Confidence is different than being self-absorbed (a trait common among insecure people). It’s a quiet glow of strength and self-awareness that comes from owning the courage to seek out and acquire the professional skills, industry exposure, and coveted connections that make internships so valuable in the first place.

Be thankful.  Some students get internships through their parents, friends, or relatives. Others find them through their school career centers.  Regardless of how you get an internship, gratitude is essential. The number of interns that take the time to write thank yous after an interview hovers at about 5%. This low percentage means the thank you note is a huge opportunity to stand out. Everyone appreciates a person who truly appreciates an opportunity extended to them. Thank you should be the first thing you say when you BEGIN an interview and it should be the first thing you say when you end an interview. You cannot express your gratitude enough when it comes to letting employers know how appreciative you are to be considered for an internship. Let the manager know you are worth it and that you appreciate their time.  

Got feedback? Bring it here – I’d love to hear it.

Getting an internship: the changing role of the intern

February 2, 2010

In the past year, the role of the intern has shifted dramatically. The employer mindset has gone from viewing the internship as a form of corporate community service to a method for accessing free labor. In a thriving economy, employers want to invest in the future workforce by providing opportunities for young emerging professionals to learn about their industry and professions. However, when times get tough, employers want to simply stay alive long enough to get through the recession.

As an intern, you need to adjust to this new mindset and approach the internship differently than in the past. Instead of approaching your next internship as an opportunity to learn about a profession or industry, you’ll want to pursue an internship with the goal of contributing your skills in a way that generates value and substance for the employer. As a result of your contribution, you will no doubt learn about the profession and industry but the goal should be contributing not learning. Employers in this tough economy are trying to make their dollars go farther and their people produce more. Internships help them accomplish both. Promoting yourself as the intern who can help them do more for less is a great way to get noticed.

So what does this mean for you? Well for starters, when asked in an interview, “Why do you want this internship?” focus on what you can do for the employer. Do not talk about how this is a great opportunity for you to learn about the industry and profession. While that might also be true, it is not the most important reason to highlight in the interview. What’s important to the employer is your ability to take initiative and produce quality work as a member of their team.


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