Tired of hearing stories about interns who just fetch coffee and photocopy? Check out this story of an intern at McDonalds who figured out that by installing occupancy sensor for lighting in non-dining and non-kitchen areas in 775 company-owned restaurants in the U.S. they could cut approximately 2,993,000 kWh of electricity usage and avoid 1,799 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually. That sure beats picking up dry cleaning and making sure the office kitchen supplies are stocked!
Archive for October 2010
Are you in the midst of a fall internship? If you are, here are some tips for how to make the most of your experience. If you’re not, keep these in mind for when you begin your next internship opportunity!
Keep a record of what you’ve done in your internship while you’re in your internship. Make sure your resume reflects the results you’ve achieved and the skills you’ve gained: the more concrete the better.
Do it better the first time
For every task you’re asked to do, exceed expectations. If you are not only finishing your work on time, but doing a little bit extra, your managers will notice and be impressed. As you are measured against your peers, your work will stand out.
Volunteer for projects whenever they arise. This will not only help you gain new skills but will allow you to become the ‘go-to’ person in the office—that person they don’t know how they did without. This bodes well for future opportunities with the company.
What do you want to do after this internship? Do you want to work for this same company? Okay, in what role or capacity? Want a similar role but in a different company or industry? How do you gain the skills you’ll need for that transition in the internship you have now? In order to get the most out of your internship, you’ll need to think ahead.
Do you have business cards? You absolutely, positively should. Even in a time when everything is digital, business cards are still thriving. Business cards allow you to showcase your personality in the design and delivery of your card, and allow you to leave new contacts with a physical reminder of who you are and a few, pithy bits of information about what you do. When you exchange business cards you transfer more than just contact data. You transfer impressions and stories that leave a lasting impact.
Surprisingly, companies like Staples and Office Depot have reported a surge in demand for business cards over the past 3 years. This is in spite of the apps and online tools that promise to “replace the business card”.
With the fierce competition for professional opportunities these days, you want to leave a lasting impression. You also want to leave a physical reminder of who you are and what you’re looking for. Whether you’re going to an internship fair, networking event, or are just out and about. You never know when you might meet that contact who is going to be instrumental to helping you find your dream internship.
Since the time social media began pervading American culture, there has been a growing debate among human resources and recruitment professionals about the role of social media in the recruitment and hiring process. This debate has mainly focused on the use of social media in eliciting information about candidates, so as to reveal potential character flaws or cultural misalignments that would otherwise be missed in an interview. Although this is an important debate to be aware of, for you as an internship candidate, you should consider taking the opposite tack. Given the current economic challenges we are facing, differentiation is key to beating out other highly qualified candidates. One way to differentiate is to leverage your social media savvy and reach as an asset in the interview process.
Your on-line presence is a representation of you. Essentially, it’s your brand. Before interviewing for an internship position, be sure to assess how your social media presence supports the mission of the hiring company as well as how it speaks to their audience.
Support the Mission: Before you consider bringing your social media presence to the table, you have to examine how your social media content and on-line brand align with the mission of the hiring company. The ability to articulate the synergies between your social media presence and the focus of the company demonstrates your willingness to add value. Companies today are looking for every advantage they can find, so show them you have one worth taking a look at.
Speak to their Audience: When examining your social media reach, it’s important that you identify the nature of your audience and where the potential overlaps are with the company’s customer base. You have to ask yourself: Is this an audience that the company values. It’s also helpful to quantify your reach. Smart business folks like numbers. At the end of the day, that’s how they make their decisions. Be ready to paint them a picture of your demographic and give them numbers
My point is simple, when looking for ways to differentiate in the crowded field of internship candidates, keep your social media presence in mind. Some of the hottest internship and career opportunities out there right now are in social media, so be mindful of your social media presence and be sure to leverage your on-line brand.
Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a coach and author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy. Dr. Woody is president of the consulting firm HCI, sits on the Academic Advisory Board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership, and holds a PhD in organizational psychology.