How to Land a Killer Internship

Below are some tips on how you can successfully land a killer internship. This is based on steps I have taken to land 3 different internships including my internship this summer with PepsiCo

Disclaimer: This blog post is focusing on the not so obvious factors that will help you land a killer internship. I do not mention maintaining a high GPA and being involved with clubs.

Freshman Year: Setting yourself up

Take CSE

One of the most important classes I have taken at Ohio State is Computer Science Engineering 2111 (CSE). This class taught me the basics of Microsoft Excel which is CRUCIAL for any internship. Excel is a skill which is required by nearly every company. If you can master this skill you can start any internship and not only look smart but add value. Make sure you take this course freshman year and learn it to the best of your ability.

Network

Although it is hard to land an internship freshman year it is definitely possible. Utilize all your family members and friends to network. Express interest early on that you want an internship for the summer. Many large companies have internship positions for relatives and family friends of employees. My freshman year I interned at Citigroup Inc. through their “Friends and Family Program”.

Become QUIC

In order to land an internship you must be able to nail an interview.  QUIC is a practice interview process Fisher offers. By going through this process you will learn how to approach an interview and appropriately market yourself to interviewers.

Sophomore year: Next Steps

Continue to Network

Once you return from your freshman year summer it’s time to pick up where you left off. Continue to reach out to family and friends and express your interest in obtaining an internship.

Practice Interviewing

Go to the fall career fair and get as many interviews as possible. The best way to land a stellar internship is being exceptional at interviews; the only way to improve is to practice. After the fall career fair send your resume to companies on FisherConnect. Companies usually screen sophomore resumes during second semester for candidates in positions they did not fill. These companies screen resumes in their database for key words. One key word I strongly recommend getting in your resume, if you can, is Pivot Table. This catches recruiter’s eyes. You can get you an interview if you have knowledge and practical experience.

Have an Open Mind

Stay positive and be willing to relocate/take a non-paid internship. I was not called for an interview my sophomore year until the week before spring break. This was after the fact that LBrands (sophomore year Internship Company) screened most of the juniors. With a stroke of luck they started screening for sophomore interns.

A great way to get practical experience if you cannot land a paid internship is with nonprofits. These organizations never have enough resources and you can get some serious exposure interning with one.

Junior Year: Landing the Internship

Hard Goal

Once you return from sophomore year summer it’s time to start grinding. Set a deadline for when you should accept an internship offer; mine was October 31. I sent out my resume to nearly every company on FisherConnect and I did not stop grinding until I landed my internship.

Practice Practice Practice

Really get after it and do as many interviews as possible. Before I had my PepsiCo interview I had gone through 7 interviews with 6 different companies. After each interview I critiqued myself on what I did wrong and which situational questions I could have answered better. Once you hit five interviews you should be a pro and have the highest level of confidence.

In summary, landing a killer internship is in your hands. You can do it if you stay focused, be persistent and don’t give up.

Good luck and happy interning!

 

Don’t forget to take that Buckeye Pride into your interview…

Last week, the Fisher Futures class was given the opportunity to listen to Jeff Rice, the executive director of the Office of Career Management. While there were many “pearls of wisdom” in his talk, the single most important piece of advice he gave us was to remain confident in the job search and to take pride in ourselves as Buckeyes. As we prepare for our futures and begin to journey toward internships, interviews, and other challenges, it is very important to keep in mind Jeff’s message of confidence building. Often times, we will be competing with students from other schools who misguidedly believe they have the upper hand in competing with us and we need to keep Jeff’s thoughts in mind and maintain our internal self-confidence regarding the quality of our school and Fisher College of Business.

Fisher is a premier business school, recognized by Businessweek as the 34th and 12th best public business school for undergraduate and graduate studies, respectively. Beyond that, Businessweek states we are the 9th best worldwide for the executive MBA. Our business school produces CEOs of companies and leaders around the globe. These statistics and confidence builders are so important to remember as we go forth. Jeff was very astute in telling the Fisher Futures class that, as Buckeyes, we must be proud and understand there is no geographical constraint to our job search and the opportunities are infinite.

Katherine Stith – Fisher Futures Program

Tell me about yourself…

Sounds like the perfect interview question, right? Open ended? You can talk about your life, your dog, your favorite color and who makes the best pizza in Columbus, right?

Wrong.

This is one of the hardest and most common interview questions. With some simple preparation, you can avoid this feeling after the interview:

Think about this question as a movie trailer. It’s a 2-3 minute preview of what’s to come in the interview. It gets the recruiter excited to “watch the movie” a.k.a. sit through the rest of the interview with their metaphorical popcorn on the edge of their seat.

Here are some tips to make your trailer successful:

1. Think chronologically. Start from the “beginning” (which is usually the end of high school) and work your way up to today. Recruiters want a brief timeline of your significant experiences over the last few years that leads up to why you’re sitting in a chair across from them.

2. Give an overview of your background, don’t tell them your life story. Think big picture – an overview of the greatness that is you. You will walk them through your resume, highlighting things that are unique or significant but if you find yourself telling them what you’ve had for breakfast today, you’ve gone too far.

3. Tell them why you chose OSU. Recruiters love hearing about your decision-making process for choosing this university and your major. Pro tip: Don’t say discounted football tickets as your one and only reason. Trust me.

4. Connect your activities and experience to relevant skills. Don’t just say “I played soccer.” Instead, discuss how playing soccer for 4 years gave you a strong sense of teamwork and work ethic, and how being captain of the team your senior year gave you superior leadership and motivational skills. Mention things that you’re proud of and skills you possess that you know the recruiter is looking for.

5. Be confident and genuine. Your introduction should not be scripted or forced. For all you sports fans, it should be a “highlight reel” of what you’ve done or are doing that shows you in the best light. And it should be natural and fluid.

6. PRACTICE. For some people, the only way to balance having appropriate content with perfect execution is to practice saying it out loud a few times. Then you’ll see what stands out and what sounds fake or forced.

Remember, if you need help making your movie trailer sound like a Hollywood blockbuster, stop in the Office of Career Management and set up an appointment with a career consultant. We’re here to help!

 

What does it mean to have “clammy” hands?

The first thing I do when coming out to our lobby to get a student for their QUIC interview is offer my hand up for a handshake. “Hi, I’m Audra!”

In business, a handshake can say so many things about you. The handshake needs to be firm (not death-grip firm, but firm) and with confidence and purpose.

One thing that need not be included in your handshake?? Clammy hands.

Clammy hands, also known as sweaty palms, are a common occurrence with interviewees. Their nerves get the best of them, and those nerves can manifest through hand perspiration. But don’t worry – it happens to the best of us!!!

An easy tip? Shortly before your scheduled interview time, simply (but thoroughly) wipe the backs and front of your hands on your pants. It is better to have your nervous perspiration on your own pants than on the recruiter’s hands. For obvious reasons.

Telling Your Story

“When I was hiking in the Appalachian mountains, I came across a wild bear. I wrestled him to the ground and saved my family. This experience taught me how to perform well under pressure.”

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^^^ WHAT?????

Simply put, people who interview well are great story tellers.  Essentially, we are telling our story when we are interviewing for a new job. Yet, most of us don’t see it this way when we are preparing for the big interview.  We think about the questions we’ll need to answer and then come up with answers to plug-in when we are asked these questions.  When we look at the questions separately and the answers we develop for these questions as separate from all the other interview questions we will be asked, we fail to prepare a theme.  In this separation we forget to set up, share and then drive home the themes as to why we are the best candidate to hire.

The best advice I have ever received about building a theme for my story was from a public speaking course I took.  The advice was, first, tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them about it, then wrap up by telling them what you told them. The key is the clear progress of theme for your story.  This clarity can lead to success in educating a recruiter as to why you are the candidate for the job.

Here’s how to put this idea to work with building your story for interview success.  First, think of three reasons you are great fit for the job.  For example, you are applying for a sales position and your three reasons are that you are resilient, enjoy building new relationships, and you are organized.  These three reasons are the themes for your story.  So when the recruiters says “Tell me about yourself,” make sure you tell them you are resilient, organized and enjoy meeting new people.  Then throughout the interview look for opportunities to discuss each of these ideas on who you are through a story about your experiences.  If you are asked why they should hire you, tell them you have three reasons and then share these three characteristics with a brief example to back each up.  Finally, when the interview is wrapping up remind them you are organized, enjoy building new connections, and are resilient. There you have it – you told them what you were going to tell them, you told them, and then you told them what you told them.  It would be impossible for the recruiter to walk away from your interview and not know you are resilient, organized and outgoing.  They will know your story as to why you are great fit for the sales position.

When preparing for your next interview, think big picture and develop a theme for the answers you are putting together for those typical interview questions. We all love stories and stories are how we explain who we are to others.  If you story has a set of themes, your story has a consistent and clear quality that will help people remember you for all the right reasons.  Good luck with your story – it is yours to write.