Posted tagged ‘summer intern’

How soon should I start looking for an internship?

March 22, 2010

Q. I’m just finishing my freshman year. How soon should I start looking for an internship?

A. Congratulations on thinking ahead! Start your planning process now so you’ll be able to do several internships. You can never have too many. Like good deeds, one internship leads to another. In the latest National Association of Colleges & Employers’ (NACE) Job Outlook 2010 Survey, employers stressed a strong preference for candidates who had participated in internships. In fact, nearly 80% said they prefer candidates with relevant work experience learned through internships. In general, college graduates who had internships fared “far better” than classmates who skipped them. Now that you’ve finished your freshman year, spend some time, while you’re working on your tan or surfing the waves, to create an internship game plan.

  • Think Out of the Block. Don’t let travel or distance stand in your way. Some internships, just like summer jobs at crowded beaches, may offer housing. And some companies pay for your gas mileage or your transportation, and give you cash bonuses when you complete your internship.
  • Start a new conversation with everyone you meet. Ask for tips or ideas on getting an interesting internship. Build your network by having this conversation with other students, teachers, advisors, family friends, co-workers, or neighbors. Keep a notebook with their answers.
  • Be adventuresome. An internship should be enjoyable. At this early point in your career, you may want to explore options to help you decide on your major. Most people change majors at least once, so internships could help you make the right decision the first time.

P.S. Check out the internships listed under National Park Service. Locations range from Hawaii, to Arizona, the Everglades, and even South Africa. Some internships are paid and some provide housing. Or, what about a paid internship with Valleyfair Amusement Park in Minneapolis, MN? Now that sounds like fun! (Search other options here.)

Do readers know of any other Out of the Block internships that would be great building blocks for future internships? Let’s network!

Tip #3: Active listening wins more offers

March 2, 2010

Did you ever hear the quote, “Nature has given men one tongue and two ears that we may hear twice as much as we speak.” by Epictetus? Employers want to hire interns who understand their organization’s goals and objectives. They want you to listen to them, understand them and commit to acting in their best interest. They want you to be focused on the company, not on yourself.  

In fact, did you know that more offers are extended when the interviewer talks more than the interviewee? Yes, that’s right. More offers are extended when you get interviewers to share more about themselves and the company, as opposed to when they spend time listening to you talk about yourself.  You might ask “why is that”? Asking good questions and gathering information on the interviewer and their company transmits the message that you’re interested in their needs. You are saying through your actions that you are concerned about doing a great job for the company. That creates a great first impression!

You might be wondering, “How do I get the interviewer to talk about the company rather than drill me with endless questions?” After all, that is how most of us tend to imagine a typical interview. Well, it is a good question.

Here are a few of my favorite questions to ask to get the interviewer talking:

  • I’d love to hear your opinion on what you believe are the most important things I could do to be a great intern if you chose to hire me?
  • I’ve been told that “fitting in” at the company I work for this summer is really important. I’m really interested in learning about what the company is like and how past interns have been effective at fitting in and contributing  as part of your team?
  • I want to be the intern who can help the company do more for less because I am here to contribute. If you could put me anywhere to get some things off your plate, what would you want me to do? I’d like to convince you that I can do those things.   

These questions are just a few of the possible opportunities for interviewers to engage and share perspectives. They also demonstrate good active listening skills. You can tell them you recognize how important their time is and want to use it wisely. Tell them that you’d like to know as much about their goals and needs regarding a summer intern so that you can give them the most relevant and valuable information about you.