Hello again! Marie here. It’s hard to believe that I’m already five weeks into my internship, but this summer has been flying by! Working full time has kept me super busy, but I’ve been trying to focus on managing my work-life balance (more on that later 😉 ). With my own internship already about a third of the way over, I thought it would be the perfect time to share some of the things that I’ve learned about finding an internship, and also being successful in one. Here it goes:
FINDING AN INTERNSHIP
So it’s no secret that finding a needle in a haystack might be easier than finding an internship. Just kidding, but internships and even full-time positions are not that easy to get. Over the past few years of searching I have learned a few things about finding one, specifically networking and interviewing. One of the first things to focus on is taking advantage of all of the resources Fisher has to offer. In order to be eligible to interview with certain companies that recruit out of Fisher, you have to pass the QUIC modules and interview, and become QUIC certified. The QUIC modules are located on Carmen and are a series of quizzes that you have to pass. Once you pass the modules, you then sign up for an in-person interview through Office of Career Management. The interview is essentially just a practice interview where a career consultant asks typical interview questions and grades you on how well you did. Don’t worry if you don’t pass the first time; you can do the interview again if you don’t! The process is not very time consuming, but make sure to sign up for an interview in advance. BUSMHR2292, a core class, requires you to complete the QUIC modules any way, so why not complete the QUIC program? The sooner the better. I got QUIC certified during the first semester of my freshman year, and while you don’t necessarily have to do it that far in advance, I was very happy that I didn’t have to worry about scheduling an interview during the fall, which is a busy time when everybody is trying to schedule their interview.
Another great resource that Fisher offers is Handshake (previously known as FisherConnect). This is one of the main resources that I’ve used to find internships and apply for interviews. The cool thing is that it customizes which internships come up in your search, depending on what majors the company is looking for, minimum GPA required, grade level, etc. so you don’t waste time applying for an internship that you’re not eligible for. Once you have narrowed it down, you can then submit your resume for an interview, or sometimes just sign up for one. Getting denied an interview hurts, but there are always other options; you just have to stay positive and keep trying! Make sure to check Handshake often, because companies post new openings every single day and you don’t want to miss out!
A very popular resource is Fisher’s Fall and Spring Career Fairs. Hundreds of companies come to the career fair to recruit Fisher students for internships and full-time positions, normally within the first few weeks of the fall and spring semesters. Even if you’re a freshman, it can be good to go and network with companies. Make sure to dress in business professional (full suit and nice shoes) and bring plenty of copies of your resume! I like to bring at least twenty copies with me. Office of Career Management has career coaches that would be happy to help you revise your resume and LinkedIn profile, as well as give you advice on how to do well at the career fair and get the internship you really want. Approaching companies at the career fair can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time doing it, but you just have to take a deep breath and be yourself. The recruiters are there to help and they appreciate you taking the time to talk to them and show an interest in their company! I normally say hi and shake their hand, introduce myself, tell them my grade in school and my major, and of course that I’m looking for a summer internship. After a brief conversation, they will normally take my resume and give me a paper with their information on it explaining how to apply (some companies even have cool goodie bags that they give out). And that’s it! Just think of it as a normal conversation and you will do amazing and have that internship in no time.
Statistics show that the majority of job and internships are obtained through connections. While career fairs are really great for networking and meeting people, you don’t necessarily need to know someone to get an internship. While connections can certainly help, you can definitely do it on your own. I got my internship without already knowing anybody within the company, so I guess I’m living proof that you can do it all on your own! Unfortunately, you will probably hear “no” before you hear “yes.” Everybody gets rejected at some point, and I promise if you forget about all the times you’ve heard “no,” you will eventually hear “yes.” One of my friends counted each rejection email she got and she was rejected almost 120 times before she finally got her internship offer! If she would’ve given up after the first few times she heard “no” she never would’ve gotten her internship. So just be true to yourself and what you are looking for and you will find success.
BEING SUCCESSFUL IN AN INTERNSHIP
Before I get to talking about being successful in an internship, I think it’s just as important to talk about being successful in an interview! I cannot stress enough how critical it is to do research on the company beforehand. You don’t have to know absolutely everything about the company (the interview is also meant for asking questions) but you need to be aware of what the company and your potential position are about. If you go into an interview without preparing beforehand it becomes obvious that you didn’t do your research and you end up looking bad (and you will also probably not get the job). It’s very important to dress business professional and bring copies of your resume, as well as a notecard with questions for the interviewer. Bringing questions to every interview is important because it lets the interviewer know that you are really interested in the company as well as the position you are interviewing for, and it gives you a chance to get the answers you need. During the interview, don’t hesitate to open up and be yourself. Now is not the time to be shy, so highlight some key points on your resume and tell them how great you are! Part of having a successful interview is “selling” yourself to the interviewer and telling them why you would be the perfect fit for that role and a great addition to their company. As every sorority woman knows, selling yourself during an interview is exactly like selling your sorority to a PNM (Potential New Member) during recruitment! Even if you aren’t involved in Greek life, knowing how to present yourself well is always important. After you finish asking your questions at the end, be sure to thank the interviewer for their time, ask for their contact information and how they want you to follow up, and tell them you look forward to hearing from them. A lot of college students don’t know how to properly close an interview, so if you give them a strong close they will definitely be impressed. And, of course, don’t forget to send the interviewer a thank you note! Doing all of these things doesn’t necessarily guarantee you an offer, but you will definitely have a good chance of getting one.
Once you have the internship, being successful in it is easy! If you do your best and try your hardest then you’ve done everything you can. The whole point of an internship is for you to learn and contribute back to your company. Try to learn as much as you can and just enjoy the experience! Internships only last so long anyway. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or speak up when you have a great idea. If you have an idea that you think the CEO would appreciate, then tell him/her! You would be surprised at how many great ideas interns have that companies actually take into consideration! Sit in on meetings, talk to as many people as you can, network, make connections with other interns. And don’t be afraid to shadow another position that you’re interested in; internships are supposed to help you decide if this is something you want to do full-time after you graduate. Even if you don’t receive an offer for a full-time position, the company you interned for can always give you a great recommendation when you are applying for other full-time jobs. While internships are meant to be a fun way to gain invaluable experience, I promise that working full-time will give you a whole new appreciation for the college life (although you definitely won’t miss the homework and studying)! Try not to take it for granted before you graduate, because you’ll probably miss all the free time you had to yourself in college once you do.
Well, that’s all for now! I’ll be back soon for updates. 🙂
^^when you finally get that internship offer!!